Looking at predictions, print and InDesign scripts

May 3, 2013

By Kevin Slimp

Joel Klaassen, publisher of Hillsboro (KS) Free Press, strolled up to me during a reception during a convention in Illinois recently and said, “It looks like you were right about J.C. Penney.”

Not sure what Joel was talking about, I asked what had happened. “I just heard. The CEO was fired this afternoon.”

You might remember that I predicted in early 2012 that J.C. Penney same-store sales would drop 20 percent by mid 2013 and that the new chief executive officer, Ron Johnson, would be fired. I went so far as to write a column in August 2012, comparing the changes at J.C. Penney to those at Advance Publications, the parent company of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

To see that column, visit kevinslimp.com and stroll down to August 2012.


Catholics find print correlates with ‘butts in the seats’

I walked into a colleague’s office one morning. The 40-year-old executive was sitting at his desk and said, “Look what just came in my e-mail ... my church newsletter. That’s pretty cool.”

He told me that a while back, his church had moved from sending out printed news to an online version of the paper.

I asked if he read the online version. “No,” was his response. “I never do anymore.”

I asked if he used to read the printed version when he got it. “Yes, I would flip through it and read most of it.”

That reminded me of a conversation I had with Matthew Schiller, business manager at Catholic New York, in 2012. I called Matthew this week and talked to him about a study done in the Catholic Church a little more than a year ago—“Catholic Media Use in the United States, 2011.”

Basically, the study was established to learn how converting from print to digital was affecting things like attendance, giving, participation in volunteer efforts and more.

You might be interested in finding the results of the study, available online, and digesting some of the material.

Basically, the study found that when the Church, which boasts newspaper staffs that rival many newspapers in most dioceses, converted it’s distribution of news from print to online, there was a direct correlation with less giving, less volunteers and fewer “butts in the seats,” as Matthew so eloquently put it.

One of the most interesting aspects of the study, Matthew told me, was learning that young people would pay a lot more attention to information sent to them in print than online.

As I speak at advertising and newspaper conferences, I remind attendees that this type of information is powerful in helping advertisers understand the value of print.


Scripts: One of my favorite InDesign ‘treasures’

Even though much of my speaking is of the keynote variety these days, I still get asked to lead software workshops at many conventions. The best draws are always related to photo editing and InDesign tips. 

One of my favorite things to teach in InDesign is the use of scripts. Most designers, even those who have been using InDesign for years, don’t realize that scripts even exist.

A script is a tiny application within an application. Scripts are found at Windows>Utilities>Scripts in the most recent versions of InDesign. Before CS5, they were found at Windows>Scripting>Scripts.

A simple example of a script is “Sort Paragraphs.” After selecting a list of items or paragraphs in an InDesign document, then double-clicking on the script in the Scripts panel, the list is magically alphabetized.

When I show this script at conferences, attendees always make “ooh” noises and start scribbling notes and whispering excitedly to their neighbors. This script has been in InDesign since the original CS version.

I also love showing InDesign users how to download free scripts from Adobe.com. My favorite script on the site is “Calendar Wizard.”

Calendar Wizard allows the user to create a somewhat detailed calendar with the click of a couple of buttons. Calendars can be anywhere from one to 12 months. They can include government, religious and other holidays. I created a series of four calendars to include with this column. It was easy to set the exact size of the calendars, the months and year and other details. 

InDesign installs 20 scripts with the application. Free scripts can be downloaded from Adobe.com by clicking on the “Downloads” menu, then selecting “Exchanges” from the bottom of the right sidebar. Once inside Adobe Marketplace & Exchange, simply choose “InDesign” and click on “Scripts” in the right sidebar. © Kevin Slimp 2013

Kevin Slimp is director of the Institute of Newspaper Technology. To read his past columns, go to www.kevinslimp.com. To learn about the institute, go to www.newspaperinstitute.com.

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