For most of the past couple of decades, this spot on the editorial page has been reserved for Edward Noga's column. Ed was on the Rubber & Plastics News editorial staff for more than 30 years, roughly 26 as editor.
But a little more than a year ago, Ed went into “semi-retirement,” and since the start of 2014 has been a contributing editor for the publication. Last year he continued to write his column for each issue along with one news story a month.
That arrangement is changing a bit more as 2015 begins. Ed's column will now appear once a month in this spot, and he will continue to write a story each month throughout this year.
So that means for most of the other issues, you'll find my views in this spot. I've been executive editor of RPN for the past 13 months, but my tenure here dates back to early 1988.
Being in this position is a bit humbling because there has been so little turnover at the top of our publication's editorial staff. The late Ernie Zielasko started Rubber & Plastics News in 1971, and he remained editor and publisher until the end of 1986 (his son, Dave Zielasko, is RPN's current publisher). Then Ed took over the editor job and stayed there until late 2013.
So in the 43-year-plus history of RPN, I am only the third person to hold the top editorial position.
While there has been little change in the top editor's job here, there has been a great many other changes, particularly in the way we deliver news to our readers.
For the first quarter of a century, it was simple. RPN published a full print issue every other week that was mailed off to roughly 15,000 or so subscribers. Many of those years, an eight-page companion publication titled Rubber & Plastics News
II was mailed on off-weeks to paid subscribers only.
All that changed in 1995, when RPN first launched its website at www.rubbernews.com. There were fewer than 25,000 websites in existence at the time, compared to upward of 1 billion today.
Today digital delivery of news is a vital part of our editorial plan. While our subscribers still count on and read our print edition—also available to subscribers in a digital format—we now publish roughly 50 stories each week on our main website. That is supplemented by a daily email newsletter sent out each morning; niche email newsletters for tires, silicone and latex; and a weekly summary of the top read stories on the site.
Anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 unique visitors from around the globe visit rubbernews.com each month.
More recently, we have added other news delivery options, including Twitter (our 1,500 followers is more than double the number of a year ago), Facebook and a free app available for both iPhones and Androids.
So while our staff may stay stable, I assure you we will continue to get news of the rubber industry delivered to you in the format you desire.
Meyer is executive editor of Rubber & Plastics News. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @bmeyerRPN.