When I started my first journalism job in 1998, one of the first things that I had to do was set up my own email account – on AOL – because that company didn’t have an email address system for its employees yet. Technology had improved some aspects of trade journalism – thankfully we were well past the point of laying pages out by hand. But some parts of the process took longer to adapt to modern times than others.

If you’ve been in the meat industry for a couple of decades, you’ve seen technology changes yourself. Sure, a smokehouse or a grinder you’re using today functions in much the same way as one from 20 or 30 years ago, but the technology in the equipment is much more advanced. Did you ever imagine that you could get notifications about your smokehouse performance on your phone? The work that your company does may not have changed all that much, but the way it gets things done is probably very different.

Trade magazines aren’t all that different, really. For decades, they were mailed to businesses on a monthly basis, would sit in the break room and be shared by employees. Then they had to have websites. Soon a monthly issue wasn’t enough, and they had to add regular newsletters. Then they had to have a social media presence as well. The mission hadn’t changed – educate and inform the audience about developments in the industry – but the means of conveying that message are much different than they used to be.

Last year, our magazines took it a step further and ventured into the all-digital realm. Our company has trade magazines in many different industries, and thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of those issues were being delivered to empty offices as people worked from home. So the decision was made to bring the magazine to where the people are – on your phone, your tablet and your computer. Do I miss it? I miss flipping through pages of a magazine and seeing my name in print – that never got old. But the opportunities that the digital world provides are incredibly exciting. Earlier this year, The National Provisioner and Independent Processor changed to a more web-friendly format, and I’m pleased to say that we have been recognized for our efforts with an Eddie and Ozzie Award, sponsored by Folio magazine. The May issue of The National Provisioner was nominated for best digital edition design. We’re only scratching the surface of what we can do with that format, too. Stay tuned for further developments.

Have you checked out our digital edition lately? The August issue of Independent Processor is available here, and the September issue of The National Provisioner is available here. We would love to get your feedback, not only on the digital issue, but on the NP/IP family in general (magazines, newsletters, webinars, social media etc.). If you like what we’re doing, please let us know what we’re doing right, or how we help you. If there’s something we could be doing better, let us know about that as well.

Sam Gazdziak