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The eyes have it

May 1, 2006 12:00 AM


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Editor's Desk

I recently attended a luncheon meeting of the Chicago Print Production Club. The menu held no surprises. (“Chicken,” sighed the woman next to me. “Again.”) But the featured speakers did have exciting news to offer about “The Reality of Virtual Proofing.” Kara Smith of Kodak introduced Elise Garber, director of new business development in Leo Burnett’s print management department, as well as TIME Inc.’s Kin Wah Lam and Guy Gleysteen.

No hard proofs, please
Four weekly titles—TIME, People, Sports Illustrated and Entertainment Weekly—at seven printing plants have transitioned to 100 percent virtual proofing. “We are no longer sending hard proofs to the printing plants,” said Lam, TIME’s director of digital development. “Twenty-six [of our] monthly titles are in the process of adopting virtual proofing by October 2006.”

TIME, Inc., has begun telling advertisers not to send hard copy proofs. To date, 300 advertisers have registered at a TIME magazine ad portal (www.direct2time.com) that enables file delivery and preflighting at the desktop.

TIME’s printers use the proofing technology of their choice—the publishing company doesn’t dictate a specific system (equipment must be valid for color accuracy and able to reproduce TR 001). Currently, TIME’s printers are using ICS Remote Director and Kodak MATCHPRINT systems, which are SWOP-certified for contract-color soft proofing. (SWOP is a registered trademark of IDEAlliance—see www.swop.org.) Other SWOP-certified options include CGS ORIS and DALiM DiALOGUE. In general, all of the speakers agreed the transition from hard to soft proofing is going smoothly. Burnett’s Garber did acknowledge “a huge behavorial change” lies ahead as print professionals long accustomed to working with proofs that can be folded, rolled or carried across a room adapt to an onscreen approval process.

Most of our readers don’t print TIME magazine or work with agencies responsible for submitting advertising materials. But TIME’s work should serve as a wake-up call: Virtual contract proofing has arrived.

Gleysteen, TIME’s vice president of paper and digital development, urged attendees to take a proactive approach. “Don’t take too long [to do this],” he said. “The technology is here and waiting for you. Most of the work has already been done for you.”

This would be an excellent time to review
Joe Marin’s April 2006 article on soft proofing, “The final four,” located here. “There will be a transitional period—much in the same way there was from analog hard proofs to digital hard proofs,” wrote Marin, senior prepress technologist and instructor for PIA/GATF. “But with ever-shrinking budgets and deadlines, contract-color soft proofing will likely only continue to grow and soon will become a standard method for color approvals.”

Cheaters never prosper
A recent Printing Industry of Illinois/Indiana Assn. seminar covered fraud prevention. CPA Gary Zeune (www.theprosandcons.com) said business owners and senior managers set the tone: If the boss fudges his or her expense report, for example, subordinates might be tempted to follow suit.

What makes an employee steal? According to Zeune, most fraudsters never have been charged or convicted of a crime. Generally, three factors are at work. The employee:

  • Has a financial need (such as someone with a substance abuse problem, a compulsive spender, etc.).
  • Identifies an easy opportunity. (There’s a low probability of getting caught.)
  • Rationalizes his or her behavior. (“The boss does it, too,” or “I am underpaid, so I deserve this money I am stealing.”)
  • Good internal controls can help prevent fraud. Don’t allow one person to have unsupervised access to company funds—periodically rotate responsibilities. Regular audits, both internal and external, also can help deter malfeasance. This seminar reminded me of a column Dick Vinocur wrote in October 2001. A former office manager used her company credit card for $2,000 in personal expenses. But it seems that was only the tip of the iceberg.

    Vinocur fired the office manager and sued her in small-claims court. He was awarded a judgment but ultimately had to write off the former employee’s charges as a bad debt. Wrote Vinocur: “Neither big nor small companies are immune to human frailties. If you don’t keep your eye on the ball, it will cost you.”



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