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85 Years of Leadership: Values Link NEWS Generations

NEWS 85th Anniversary

June 27, 2011
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Taggart Henderson

After 85 years, it takes more than cosmetics to keep a publication fresh; the right attitude needs to permeate the organization. “This publication, The NEWS, was started by my great-grandfather in 1926,” said BNP Media co-CEO Taggart Henderson.

“My brothers and I are fourth-generation” executive owners. Taggart’s co-CEOs are brothers Harper and Mitchell. Their great-grandfather was F.M. Cockrell.

This founder and publisher of The Electric Refrigeration News came up through the ranks of both the early refrigeration trade, and in publishing. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electric engineering in 1914, then worked at Westinghouse and McGraw-Hill, among other early industry companies.

Cockrell’s stated goals for The Electric Refrigeration News were:

• To encourage the development of the art (of electric refrigeration).

• To promote ethical practices in the business.

• To foster friendly relations throughout the industry.

• To provide a clearinghouse for new methods and ideas.

• To broadcast the technical, commercial, and personal news in the field.

These days, BNP Media has a single mission statement for all of its publications: To help people succeed in business by providing them with superior information.

Most multi-generational companies reflect the values of earlier generations. According to Taggart Henderson, today’s NEWS reflects the perseverance of those earlier family members. “I think about my great-grandfather starting this publication in 1926, and having to make it through the Depression.

“I think that perseverance is definitely something that I pride myself on, and I think our family prides itself on it.”

WEEKLY AND STRONG

Henderson continued: “For The NEWS to make it 85 years, and to stay as a weekly publication, and to stay as strong as it is - a leader in the industry - to me that shows perseverance. I’m very, very proud of this title. It started in 1926 as The Electric Refrigeration News and it was really about refrigeration. Today it’s about so much more.”

One of its greatest strengths now, he said, remains its weekly publication frequency. “The fact that it’s a true weekly; there are not many weekly publications around anymore,” he said, “and I think it would be very difficult to launch a weekly publication today.”

Another strength, he said, is the team of people behind it, “our editorial team, our salespeople, the designers, and everybody behind the publication.

“This business is all about creating a new product; in this case, every single week,” he said. “When we do that well, the publication stays fresh, stays vibrant. The job of any good publication is to stay out ahead of what’s happening. If we are paying attention to what is happening in the industry, and we have our thumb on the pulse of what’s happening, then the title will stay fresh and vibrant. I think we’ve done a very good job of that.”

If the paper’s founders could see it today, “I think they would first of all say that it’s great that it’s still around. It’s still doing the same thing in print. But I think if they saw what we are doing electronically, they would be amazed.

“My grandfather [Ed Henderson] was a big ham radio operator, he was a big electronics fan,” said Taggart. “I think that if he could see what we’re doing, on our websites and with webinars, with video, and virtual tradeshows, there are so many different ways that we’re providing content that people need in this industry through the digital medium. I think they would be amazed at that.”

Publication date: 06/27/2011

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