Editor's Note Tragedy Touches Print 01
by Bob Neubauer
After watching the twin towers of the World Trade Center crash to the earth two days ago, I'm finding it a little difficult to write with enthusiasm about the "big news" of Print 01. The tragedy just overshadows it all.
I flew back from the trade show in Chicago just a day and a half before New York and Washington were attacked, so I watched the terror unfold from a TV screen in our Philadelphia office. Many Print 01 attendees and vendors, however, were forced to confront the grim news from their hotel rooms, far from home, and were subsequently trapped in Chicago when all air traffic was grounded.
Prior to that tragic morning, the world's "largest, most comprehensive trade show" for the graphic arts, as it was billed, had been proceeding like any other trade show. Its 850 exhibitors were busily demonstrating their latest products for the thousands of printers in attendance, and the biggest news was the acquisition of Indigo by HP.
When the terrible images of the burning towers hit Chicago around 8 a.m., that all changed. McCormick Place became a lonely spot. Few were in the mood to hear about the latest features of presses and scanners. And many who had planned to fly in were unable to even reach the city.
Those who attended Print 01 on the day of the tragedy reported a nearly empty, eerily quiet show floor. Equipment was not running and some exhibition booths were dark and entirely unstaffed. Many exhibitors let their staffs go home.
The next day brought light traffic to the show, most of it from out-of-town printers trapped in Chicago, according to one vendor; few locals made the trip. Heidelberg and Xerox reps said demos went on as scheduled at their booths, and they reported modest attendance. Canon said it had only a skeleton crew working its booth. Across the show floor, people huddled around TV monitors, watching scenes of the devastation in New York. Though some equipment was running, the show's three halls were noticeably quieter than they had been just a few days before, when printing had still been everyone's chief concern.