CI&M celebrates a half-decade of covering the cabling industry

On our fifth anniversary, we take a look back at 60 issues` worth of pictures, stories, and memories.

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On our fifth anniversary, we take a look back at 60 issues` worth of pictures, stories, and memories.

Arlyn S. Powell, Jr.

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When I moved more than five years ago from my position as managing editor of another PennWell magazine, Computer Design, to serve as the first editor of Cabling Installation & Maintenance, I was--as you can imagine--both excited and apprehensive. Excited because I was getting in on the ground floor of a new venture with tremendous promise. Apprehensive because . . . well, what if the magazine failed?

As it has turned out, Cabling Installation & Maintenance has been both a financial and an editorial success since day one. As a result of this success, we went from four issues a year in 1993 to monthly publication in 1994. In 1995, we published our first Cabling Installation & Maintenance Buyer`s Guide Issue, substituting it for our regular March issue. In September 1995, we launched our Cabling News newsletter, and that same fall, debuted the Cabling Installation & Maintenance Installer Tips Videos` series at the bicsi show, held in Tucson, AZ. In the fall of 1996, Cabling Installation & Maintenance partnered with bicsi (Tampa, FL) to hold the first Cabling Installation Expo, in Charlotte, NC. In 1997, PennWell acquired an online media company and relaunched it as PennWell Media Online--the current home of the magazine`s Web site, as well as the Broadband Telephony Buyer`s Guide, Contractor`s Directory, and many other useful informational resources. Later in the year, we published our first book, Installer Tips: Practical Techniques for Cabling Professionals, a compilation of our ever-popular Cabling Installer Tips`.

The Installer Tips volume is optimistically subtitled Volume 1, presaging others to follow. And, indeed, we have many other projects in the works that we expect to realize this year and in the more distant future. A second series of training videos, this one dealing with basic cable installation and connectorization techniques, is in the works. It should be out in the fall. Also, at this fall`s Cabling Installation Expo `98, to be held in Atlanta, GA, from October 12 to 14, we expect to inaugurate a seminar covering the business aspects of the global cabling market.

This past March, we extended our coverage of new products serving the cabling industry with Cabling Product News`, a quarterly product newspaper. In the fall, we will offer its readers a chance to vote on the best products introduced during the year, and at next winter`s bicsi Annual Conference, to be held January 18 to 21, 1999, in Orlando, FL, we plan to pass out our first set of Readers` Choice IQ Awards.

And, as if all this were not enough, Cabling Installation & Maintenance is going international, with an Australian edition to be launched this year in partnership with Connections Magazines (Melbourne, Victoria).

All of these additional information products and activities are built on the ongoing success of the magazine, which now forms the core of a broad-based technical-information franchise. Each product or service has been added, after careful consideration, with only one purpose in mind: to serve the informational needs of you, our readers.

But what about that core magazine itself? Has it changed over the past five years? Clearly, editorial success is qualitative rather than quantitative; it cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

Still, there are some objective measures of our growth and of how well we cover the cabling industry. For example, in 1993, we offered our readers about 100 pages of information; this year we will publish close to 10 times that number. Another way to calibrate our success is to count the number of different people from the cabling industry who contribute stories and other information to us each year. Unlike the case with other magazines in the field, this number typically surpasses 100, making us by far the most broad-based of peer-to-peer publications. And this figure does not even include the literally hundreds of people we interview for our product and technology round-up stories and our monthly design and installation case histories.

But do numbers tell the whole tale? I would argue that they do not, and so I want to take a retrospective look at the technical issues, cabling-industry themes, and stand-out individuals that have impacted the magazine over the past five years.

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