When I started my journalism career as a beat reporter for my college newspaper more than 20 years ago, computers were just entering the newsroom. Looking back now, those computers seemed only slightly smaller than ENIAC. They were clunky and featured a black screen with green writing – essentially they were glorified word possessors. To boot, there were only three terminals for 20-plus reporters. At the time the technology was an added stressor to our work and many scoffed at having to learn a new way to file stories and lay out pages. Some reporters spewed conspiracy theories and feared rivals would tap into their files and steal their work while others flat out refused to adapt.
Fast forward to 2011 and I couldn't imagine writing a column, article or news piece without my computer. And, what would have been inconceivable when I started, I spend more time working on stories meant for electronic distribution than for hard-copy issues.
Technology is advancing so quickly that software, ideas and ways of presenting information often become obsolete even before they become mainstream. In fact, just 10 years ago many trade magazines (and some consumer publications) didn't even have a Web presence. And if they did, it was just to post the same information that appeared in print. That business model isn't a sound one. To be considered an authority, publications must provide even more information online than in print to satisfy the inquisitive minds of readers.
ChemicalProcessing.com has been offering Web-exclusive copy since its inception in 2002. Our Ask the Experts feature, which tackles readers' processing questions, is an online-only element presented in a Q&A format. And most of our Industry News and Vendor News are Web-exclusive as well – after all, readers don't look for breaking news in a monthly magazine. As for products, when space permits in the magazine, we highlight the newest offerings. But if you look online you will see hundreds more products placed into several categories (fluid handling, powders & solids, automation, separations technology, etc.). ChemicalProcessing.com also features a monthly online poll in which you can provide inputs on important topics and trends and see how your responses compare with your peers. Even our Comical Processing cartoon feature is only offered online. And our blogs – Chemical Reaction and Chemical Security Action – are the epitome of Web-exclusive (blog is short for Web log).
In addition to the above online features, the site also is packed with Web-exclusive multimedia offerings – podcasts, webinars, videos and special reports. Every single piece of content is rich with information to help visitors make their facilities as efficient, safe, environmentally friendly and economical competitive as possible.
To ensure the Website adapts and grows, we will be adding even more Web-exclusive content this year via online columnists. We will tap the minds of our experts and will welcome outside writers to help us continue to make ChemicalProcessing.com a stellar community of engineers, designers and operators in the chemical industry.
Here's to being part of the exclusive club!
Traci Purdum is Chemical Processing's senior digital editor -- and champion for Web-exclusive content. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.