Oct. 14, 2009— Despite the current economy, despite worries about where it will go and how the print industry will fare, the attendees at the annual Franklin Awards Gala showed no signs of slowing down. More than 450 people arrived to celebrate their peers.
The highlight of the evening was the Franklin Award itself, given to Cathy Black, president of Hearst Magazines. With a long career in magazines as well as a best-selling nonfiction novel, Black is a perfect example of how media and the people who direct it have and continue to change. She spoke about content, and how it’s changed so much in the years she has been in this business. Not the content itself, however, but the way people consume it.
Digital delivery systems, such as the Web and mobile sites, she noted, still account for only a small percentage of Hearst revenue, with print still king in that department. However, that percentage is growing quickly, and it’s now her mission to invent new ways to tie different media forms together to present content in ways consumers didn’t know they wanted. However, print, she was very adamant about pointing out, is a very big part of that mix. In fact, she noted that print is, “like the little black dress of content—a classic that will never go out of style.”
In addition to Black, three Power of Communications awards were also given at the event. Patrick Pagani, general manager of Dolce Printing won the award for Print; Lori Carrabba, director of operations, senior partner, Ogilvy Heathworld, won the award for Advertising; and Celie Baussan, senior vice president, operations and technology, SourceMedia, won for Publishing.
The night was rounded out with the Zenger Medal, an award given each year to someone in the industry who has gone above and beyond to serve others. This year’s recipient was Stephen Whittaker, vice president, quality management and sustainability initiatives, Monroe Litho. He served in Vietnam printing various documents in the field, including top secret memos, troop movements, and more. He spoke about the trials he and his teammates had to go through to keep an offset press running in a combat zone, including flying helicopters through enemy fire to retrieve needed supplies.
A fourth-generation printer, Whittaker didn’t stop his giving when he retired from the military, either. In fact, he just shipped an entire baseball team’s worth of equipment to the troops in Afghanistan, and continues to raise money in an effort to do more to help them.