Volume 1, Number 1. Periodicals track themselves by volume and number. The volume indicates the year of publication from its beginning; the number notes the edition number in that year. Pretty simple, right?
Well, quite a bit has gone into this first edition [of Parking Today]. Planning began early last year. First, the marketing study – hundreds of phone calls and thousands of questions by a specialist in the “finding out” business:
What do you want? What don’t you like? What are your needs? What do you think about? Would you read it if we …?
During the planning stages, one thought kept coming to the surface. How can we ensure that we provide the right kind of information for this industry? The answer? Allow the journalist to come through: Investigate, report, ask, tell the story, inform. Get the information people want and present it in a format they can read. That is our goal.
Our goal is to serve as a vehicle to bring together all the various divergent parts of the parking industry and offer ourselves as “information central.”
This is a multibillion-dollar industry, with hundreds of thousands of people working in it. We cannot cover all of it in every issue. We can, however, inform, report and stimulate discussion.
That is our pledge. Give us the opportunity, and we will make it happen. When Volume 2, Number 1 hits the streets, we know you will agree that Parking Today is truly the clearinghouse for parking information, ideas, and business...
I wrote the above 20 years ago, in April 1996. We are publishing Volume 21, Number 8. I know, it should be Volume 20, if we are 20 years old. We were 20 full years old in April 2016. We change Volumes on Jan. 1. So we are now in Volume 21.
A lot has changed. Way back then, we subscribed to a “clipping service” and received literally hundreds of articles clipped from newspapers and magazines. We then picked those to excerpt in PT. Today, it’s a quick Google search.
Back then, we sent computer files to the printer, who created negatives, stripped them into eight page-size sheets, burned plates, put them on a press, and printed our magazine. The first issue had 40 pages. Now it’s not unusual to see 64 or 72 pages.
Today, we send high-resolution PDFs to the printer. The files, untouched by human hands, create images directly on printing plates, which are automatically mounted on the five-color offset press. The press can handle 48 pages at one time. Time from receipt of files to “in the mail” has gone from more than two weeks to less than eight days.
Our website has matured, too: www.parkingtoday.com now hosts my blog, stories and articles from the magazine, historical files that are easy to search, and a full-blown copy of the magazine itself. Usually online a full three weeks before you receive the print edition at home.
We have added a new website, parknews.biz, which brings you daily updates of “what’s happenin’” in our industry. We felt that bringing you information that was often six weeks late in print just didn’t cut it in the age of the Internet. There are more than 15,000 visits a month to parkingtoday.com and parknews.biz.
In about 2000, I told the president of one of the major parking industry associations that I would do anything I could to help them make their trade event more successful. The response? “Over my dead body.”
That association was getting about 700 attendees at its event. I knew there were thousands who should attend. So, three years after the first issue of PT, we began the Parking Industry Exhibition. Based in Chicago, PIE brings the best speakers and topics for attendees, plus a world-class exhibition, bringing suppliers and users together to review and discuss the latest in parking technology.
We grew PIE from a group of a couple of hundred people to a major force in the industry.
I had one advertiser tell me he hated what I was doing with Parking Today. It had forced him to upgrade his graphics and advertising “look,” he said. “That wasn’t cheap,” he added. Then he smiled and noted, “You are forcing the industry to take a new look at itself.” High praise indeed!
I noted 20 years ago that “Our goal is to serve as a vehicle to bring together all the various divergent parts of the parking industry and offer ourselves as ‘information central.’ This is a multibillion dollar industry, with hundreds of thousands of people working in it. We cannot cover all of it in every issue. We can, however, inform, report and stimulate discussion.”
Have we at PT accomplished this mission? Have we kept up with the times and the way people communicate? Have we “informed, reported and stimulated discussion”? That is for you to say.
I can only comment that our longevity must have something to do with succeeding in that mission. When we began, the wags in the industry gave us “three issues.” We left that in the dust. They told us the last thing the industry needed was “another magazine.” They were wrong.
In the final analysis, our readers and advertisers have made Parking Today a success. We salute you and look forward to another two decades. Rest assured we will continue, as one of our staff reminds us daily, to be engaged, dynamic and innovative.
Thanks for a wonderful 20 years.