I know what you're thinking. You've heard all about the changes that have occurred here in the offices of Lighting Dimensions and Entertainment Design, you've read the website, seen the newsletter, and heard the rumors (I don't really need to go into that soap opera again this late in the game, do I?), and now you've finally picked up this latest copy of LD, and you're stumped. “What gives, Johnson?” you're asking. “I thought you were promising big changes. Looks the same to me. You're even using that same damn ugly mugshot we see in ED every month. What's the big idea?” (Alternatively some of you may even be saying, “What changes, and who the hell are you?” in which case I strongly suggest you go to the LD website or ask an industry friend to give you the Cliff Notes version.)
Yes, indeed, the March 2004 issue of Lighting Dimensions looks like many previous issues of Lighting Dimensions. You'll find the usual mix of coverage from around the world, ranging from a New Year's project illuminating the city of Sydney Australia, to the naming ceremony for the Queen Mary 2 in England, to the cover story on the architectural lighting for Disney's Pop Century Resort. You'll see some familiar names, from consulting editor Ellen-Lampert-Greaux to freelancers Sharon Stancavage, Catherine McHugh, and Catriona Strom. And you'll find the requisite technical coverage, new product news, and blend of disciplines, from clubs to concerts to retail. In other words, everything you've come to expect from the only magazine in the industry devoted exclusively to the lighting professional.
But look closer, and you will see the beginnings of change. There's the obvious: my presence in this magazine again, after many years of concentrating solely on ED. On the sales/management side, Bob MacArthur is our group publisher, whom some of you may have met at ETS-LDI, while Aimee Eckert, longtime East Coast sales rep for ED, will take over similar rep duties for LD. Holly O'Hair continues in her role as West Coast sales rep, with the addition of the international market.
Then there's the book itself. In my short time since taking over duties as editorial director/associate publisher (it's only been about three weeks, which seems unbelievable to me) I've heard a torrent of requests (okay, demands) from readers and advertisers about changes you've been clamoring for on this magazine for quite some time. Number one on the list was page count: everyone wants a bigger, healthier book. Brothers and sisters, so do I. With this issue, we've taken a few steps to that end, bumping up the page count a notch and thereby giving you more to read. With the exception of the October/November LDI issues, traditionally the fattest of the year, this is the largest single issue of the magazine in over two years. Look for that trend to continue in the months ahead.
Some of you have expressed concern that the magazine has become too similar in its coverage: project/equipment list, project/equipment list, etc. You will still find a healthy dose of projects in this issue, but mixed among them the seeds of further change you can expect to see in the magazine in the months ahead: a discussion on the latest lighting trends in nightclubs, a detailed comparison of two recent concert tours, an opinion piece on the perils of over-lamping, and a detailed primer by projection designers Bob and Colleen Bonniol on the tools and terms every lighting designer needs to know about projection technology.
The changes I've just described are but baby steps in a long and challenging marathon. There will be more changes in the months ahead. By the time you read this, we will have announced a new editorial team, bringing some much needed youthful vitality and energy to both magazines (I'm not getting any younger, you know). We're also in the process of re-establishing a closer working relationship with the industry's pre-eminent trade show, The Entertainment Technology Show/LDI.
Most important to you, our readers and advertisers, we will be unveiling a complete re-design and re-focus of the magazine this summer, creating an all-new Lighting Dimensions designed to reflect what you've long been asking for in a trade magazine, including not only the changes I've mentioned above, but some surprises as well.
Complaining about what he feels is a lack of balance among industry magazines on the LightNetwork recently, Steve Terry wrote: “A good trade journal is like an investment portfolio: A balance of growth stocks, bonds, international. Or: A balance of ‘how to,’ solid technical and engineering information, project reports, design issues.” That's a pretty good definition of a trade magazine, but I think he left out one important element: it should also help create a blueprint for the future of the industry it covers. Our goal with LD will be to create a book that will help all of you do your jobs a little bit better, today, tomorrow, and five years from now.
As I said in an open letter in January, the entire staff realizes that we have major challenges ahead of us. We need to re-establish your faith and trust in both magazines, and rebuild them to mirror the future of our industry. That's exactly what we intend to do, one baby step at a time.