Sometimes our staff is fortunate enough to have an intern work with us during the summer. This year we have Alexis Coffey, a senior at Ohio University, which is well known for its School of Journalism. In that school, Alexis is majoring in strategic communication — a cross between journalism and marketing. It’s been a great fit for all of us because she works on a variety of marketing projects when she’s not editing material for publication in the magazine or posting content to our website. As we’ve done with all our summer interns, we try to make this a valuable learning experience for Alexis without piling too much work on her.
I imagine Alexis would’ve preferred to intern for a publication that covers something a little more mainstream than fluid power technology. But she’s been a good sport and has come to realize that even though most people don’t get excited about fluid power, there is a community of us that loves to discuss the technology. I think she’s learned that whether the topic is fluid power, health care, or even sports, the editor’s role is the same: to help readers and website visitors expand their knowledge in the particular field of coverage.
But the sharing of knowledge isn’t a one-way street. Alexis has taught me a lot about the newest generation of people entering the workforce. As I expected, to say that people in their early twenties are comfortable with laptops, tablets, and smart phones is an understatement. What I didn’t expect is how prevalent it is for them to have all these devices tied together. This integration makes a personal account a virtual extension of the individual.
So do print magazines still have a place in Alexis’s world? Of course they do. Alexis said, for example, that she subscribes to Women’s Health, and for the same reasons people subscribe to Hydraulics & Pneumatics. She said she could get the same information online, but she likes the magazine because it feeds her a consistent diet of in-depth articles that cover topics she’s interested in. Rather than have to search for information on relevant topics, she knows the magazine will present them to her on a regular basis.
That’s quite a concept, one that H&P adopted more than 65 years ago.