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Anniversary Blog Series: 'The more things change…'

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AKRON (Sept. 10, 2013) — Covering the global tire industry for the past 30+ years has provided a wealth of experiences — mostly memorable, some forgettable — and numerous encounters with genuine businessmen and -women along the way.

The fact that we're approaching the 800th issue of Tire Business is light years removed from publishing issue No. 1, back in April 1983.

So too are the tools we use to publish — or perhaps more accurately, disseminate — the information we gather and process for each issue.

Introducing a fortnightly news publication to the tire distribution industry was a radical step in 1983, but one that seems matter-of-fact today, when we "publish" a dozen news items daily on our website and Facebook pages before 11 a.m., produce a weekly video newscast and host an increasing array of webinars.

Nonetheless, the print edition is still the face of our efforts and the backbone of all other publishing endeavors.

Gone (thankfully) are the days of manual typewriters, thermographic-paper facsimile machines, one- or two-day waits for film processing, copyfitting pages by hand and having proof pages delivered by courier to the typesetter and/or printer, laborious, tedious attempts at sending teletype messages to obscure or even exotic locations half a world away, etc.

Today we reporters and editors have the benefit (luxury? curse?) of nearly instantaneous communication with companies worldwide, real-time "face-to-face" interviews with subjects nearly anywhere (via digital communications) and nearly seamless access to high quality digital photos, images and/or video.

What hasn't changed, though, is this publication's adherence to its core beliefs — that we exist to provide "accurate, authoritative and timely news,'' knowledgeable selection of stories and "objective, unbiased reporting" — as Tire Business' founder and first editor/publisher, Ernie Zielasko, established in that first issue.

The evolving information technology now allows us to gather and process news at an ever-accelerating pace.

This provides us the opportunity to report the news to you, our readers, at ever faster intervals. But speed alone can't be the sole determining factor in generating stories for your consumption, whether on the Web or in the pages of the print edition.

We are committed to the principles of accuracy and objectivity Ernie Zielasko articulated in that April 11, 1983, issue, so there will be times when modern digital technology and old-fashioned values clash.

As the well-worn maxim by French journalist and novelist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr goes: Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose —"The more things change, the more they stay the same."

_____________________________________

Bruce Davis is special projects reporter for Tire Business. He can be reached at bdavis@crain.com or 330-865-6145

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