All Over Again
Ilast announced my retirement in a column in Air Transport World’s September 2012 issue. But hings change, and as it happened I never left. So
how do you write a second retirement column? I have
discovered this one is more difficult to compose. I titled
that first column -30-, which means the end of the
story. Okay, so it wasn’t.
One of the questions I am most often asked is,
“What does a publisher do?” This is a good question, because for me it has been an evolving role.
Simply put, the publisher runs the business, overseeing departments including editorial, production,
sales and marketing, and audience development. The
publisher is responsible for the bottom line, tying
everything together to provide a strategic focus. I had
some guiding principles and would like to spend this
final effort reflecting on those as I evolved with ATW
these last 37 years.
It’s always been about the reader
In journalism school it was made clear that you have to
get the story right. Readers know good from bad journalism. Good publications build a trust with their readers that they will provide truthful, accurate, non-biased
and insightful information. This bond keeps the reader
coming back. I know ATW has delivered superbly, but
at the same time—you—our readers, have been a large
factor in our success. You have been champions in letting us know what is important to you. We have periodically asked your opinions through subscriber studies
or other forms of research and this has helped us publish relevant content. This is a philosophy held by every
ATW editor and with your help we have produced the
most amazing group of engaged readers in the business.
That engagement has also contributed to making our
Annual Airline Industry Achievement Awards the most
meaningful event in the industry.
It is also important to provide those companies
Learning to adapt
investing advertising dollars in the publication a
good value. We created the premier environment for
engaged readers but we also made sure we engaged
the right people in the right places. These two fac-
tors have been a key to the success of ATW. It is not
an easy task and playing in an international arena
is expensive. We have been good at understanding
where the market is going and adapting to these
changes. When I started working for ATW, close to
65% of our copies were delivered in North America;
now it is fewer than 35%, with overall distribution
matching world growth markets.
Publishing has been a fast changing business. I
believe ATW has done a very good job at understanding the changes in the business and adapting to
those changes, albeit sometimes with baby steps. We
look at publishing and technology trends to make
sure we get it right. I remember the stress of launching our first website close to 15 years ago. We were
one of the first commercial aviation websites and one
of the first in our company. We are a lot better now
at providing and managing digital content, and will
get even better. We are lucky to have some dedicated employees and people inside Penton that really
understand how this stuff works and know what is
needed to stay on top. I thank them.
I am extremely lucky to have worked with a lot
of good people during my tenure at ATW: many
good times were had. I am fortunate to have made
a number of lifetime friends along the way and had
the honor of meeting almost everyone ever associated with ATW. I learned something from each
person and these associations made my job much
easier. Good luck to those that carry on the mission.
Thanks to Joe Murphy for starting ATW and Yogi
Berra for the title of this page. Over and out.
William A. Freeman, III | Group Publisher