Despite all the talk about print being dead (and the talk continues on page 4 of this issue, where Scott Morgan previews a Princeton University conference that will address the consequences of the decline of the daily newspaper), we nevertheless came to work on Wednesday, April 22, to discover more than four tons of freshly printed matter residing in our parking lot.

That mound, of course, was the 2009-’10 edition of the U.S. 1’s annual business directory. By the end of the day more than 4,000 copies of them had been distributed to offices just like yours (If you didn’t get one, extras are now available in our office for just $18.95, or $23.95 if you would like us to send you one via priority mail.)

One of the great challenges of any directory of this sort is figuring out the categories of companies. Over the years categories have come and gone — we now have seven different research and development categories, for example, after starting out several decades ago with just one-fits-all R&D category. This year we added a category in the real estate section: Home inspection services, which may become more plentiful as budget conscious consumers seek expert help in sizing up a property before they lay out their hard earned cash.

We also took another longstanding category and divided it: The media became print media and electronic media.

Now that the print media stand alone in their own little spotlight, some may wonder how many will still be standing a year from now, or a decade from now. We are heartened by the history of another category that has played out in the pages of the U.S. 1 Business Directory. Farms and agriculture commanded no more than five or six listings in our early editions in the 1990s. At one point we dropped the category altogether. But it came back and this year the category boasts 19 listings.

Maybe we in the media can learn from that. The farmers have organized themselves to lobby the public to buy local (an effort that retailers are also pursuing — see page 49 of this issue). Perhaps the print media can urge the community to do the same: Read local, as the letter writer below suggests:

To the Editor:

Questions Answered

I just read Richard K. Rein’s “Easy Questions” column (U.S. 1, April 22) with great enjoyment and recognition. You’ve posed almost all of the important, nagging queries that have been bugging me — whenever my kids aren’t.

So there is indeed one “easy answer” to each of your questions: “How true!” Thank you for sharing your personal, yet universal list of ponderings: reminders of the human condition, which may simply come down to “puzzlement.”

With the demise of the New York Times “New Jersey” section, U.S. 1’s in-depth coverage of our region will be even more essential. In this issue, I appreciated the update on Terracycle, and Elaine Strauss’s feature on our own “Eco-Pianist.” Callie Hancock

Laurel Road, Princeton

Hancock is a technical writer with CUH2A, the architectural firm at 1000 Lenox Drive.

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