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RPN staff changes signify end of an era for editor

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The logjam at the top of Rubber & Plastics News' editorial staff finally has been broken. I'm outta there. Well, not completely.

At the end of November, I went into "semi-retired" status. I'm now a contributing editor, continuing to write this column and some stories, but no longer running the editorial department or working at our Akron office.

About time. After 27 years as editor, following seven years as managing editor, my departure means Bruce Meyer is now the person in charge of the RPN editorial products. He had been managing editor of the publication for nearly 19 years, and by my estimation has been qualified to do the job for much of that time. He's now the executive editor.

The staff changes also give Don Detore the opportunity to move into the managing editor slot. Don came to us fairly recently from the The Repository daily newspaper in nearby Canton, Ohio, working as our copy editor. A veteran sports reporter and editor, and onetime executive editor of that daily, he'll be a fine M.E.

I've had a good ride as editor of RPN, and as managing editor before that. I was fortunate to have Ernie Zielasko, who co-founded the publication, as my mentor. EZ was exacting, tough and entrepreneurial, and believe me, it took awhile to gain his trust.

I learned a lot from Ernie. While I frequently can't recall where I put my keys or phone, I always remembered his advice and reasoning in making decisions. He refused to compromise on editorial principles, and I followed his lead, sometimes to my own detriment.

I was lucky to work for Crain Communications, where an editor had the latitude to stand up for his journalistic beliefs. That's a rarity in the trade press.

Like journalism and the world itself, the rubber industry is much different today than when I started covering it in 1979. Change, of course, is constant, and the rubber business isn't exempt from that. As a journalist, though, I found out quickly that the industry is highly competitive, inventive, global and full of smart and interesting people.

It still is. And they still read RPN, just today that isn't confined to a print publication, but via email, the web, on smart phones, tablets and who knows what is next.

I've been fortunate to spend a career covering the business, and am glad I'll still be able to keep my hand in it.

Noga is a contributing editor to Rubber & Plastics News and its former editor. He can be reached at elnmails@yahoo.com.