In an address to the public, posted to YouTube on June 12th, President Obama announced an end to the printing of the Federal Register. Published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents. In his video the president refers to these documents as, “expensive doorstops,” since they have been available online since 1994.
The end of the printed Federal Register is the start of a new era at the Whitehouse. For decades millions (if not billions) of documents have been printed and distributed almost directly to the recycling bins. Miles and miles of red tape have forced the government to print every piece of legislation regardless of the fact that it’s available online. There’s been mixed reactions to this message throughout the printing industry, but I have to say I side with the president. When it comes down to it, political/legal documents are better viewed online. Being able to search their content rather than skimming through hard copy. Instead of thinking about how the president is bashing our industry, we should be following in his footsteps and thinking how our clients could benefit from eliminating their printed materials and taking them to a digital media?
President and CEO of Printing Industries of America (PIA), Michael Makin’s response to this announcement was outright telling. His response can be plainly categorized as a misinterpretation of the president’s message. It is evident that he is in denial about the state of the printing industry.
In the end, it makes sense for this document, and documents alike to only be available online. While not everyone was able to obtain a hardcopy, everyone is able to view it online. So lets take a moment and think; what material do we print on a regular basis that is better suited online?
Author: John Mehl