EDITOR'S NOTE FALL 2015 | VOL. 40 NO. 3
40 Years of Community
In 1975, “Jaws” was released, becoming the very first Hollywood summer blockbuster. “All in the Family,” “Laverne & Shirley,” “Happy Days,” “The Bionic Woman” and “The Six Million Dollar Man” had us glued to our TVs during prime time, and Sony introduced the Betamax videocassette to record them all. Bellbottoms were in. Elton John, John Denver, the Eagles and Olivia Newton-John were on the top of the charts, and Farrah Fawcett’s big hair was being imitated by salon stylists everywhere.
Forty years ago there wasn’t an Internet. Phone calls were expensive – you timed those long-distance calls to Grandma. Cable TV was in its infancy. And Bernie Sadow’s patent for wheeled luggage wasn’t even three years old.
The only source of trade info came from industry hearsay and trade magazines. Which is why 40 years ago, the Luggage and Leather Goods Manufacturers of America – progenitor of the Travel Goods Association – launched the newsletter that would become Showcase magazine, which would evolve in turn into Travel Goods Showcase. The newsletter brought everyone together, creating community for the Association, and it was the de facto news broadcast for the industry.
Today, you can find news on any subject – no matter how esoteric or obscure – on countless blogs and websites. There are news-clipping bots that cull the tiniest story fragments from major news sources, and crawl the Internet to aggregate minuscule scraps to create your personal news feed.
The problem is, Google can’t tell whether a story mentioning “trade tariffs” and “travel goods” has any relevance to you and your business. The right combination of search keywords isn’t a guarantee of relevance. Not all info is newsworthy.
This is why magazines still matter. Magazines are a curated information feed, an informational sieve that extracts items of news value and discards the rest. Consumer magazines and newspapers might not be economically viable in today’s advertising climate, and they can’t compete with the speed of online news delivery, but when it comes to delivering truly useful information they’re more essential than ever, because it’s now that much harder to find those golden needles in that giant haystack called the Internet. And that’s especially true in the hunt for targeted news, the type that fills specialty publications and trade magazines like this one.
Industry news has changed, and Travel Goods Showcase’s contents have evolved too, transitioning from a luggage- and leather goods-centered universe to one encompassing travel products of all kinds. The economy has become truly global over the last four decades, thanks to factors like the rise of Asian manufacture, the formation of the European Union and Internet-powered distribution. Ours is a worldwide industry – and our readership has become more international as a consequence – but our magazine’s purpose remains constant: To inform, educate and, perhaps most importantly, unify all of us in the industry and provide a sense of community.
Thank you for being part of it.