News

Today’s news moves A LOT faster than it used to

BY Rob Eder

NEW YORK

A lot of people think that the newspaper began with Johannes Gutenberg and the invention of a movable type press. Not so much. That just built efficiency into the business of producing a newspaper. About 150 years later a German guy named Lucas Schulte used the contraption to churn out the first edition of Avisa Relation oder Zeitung. You have to imagine news traveled pretty slowly back then. Otherwise, how else could you explain that it took 12 years for the British to respond? The first edition of The Weekly Newes was printed in 1622 in London. Of course, the true Anglophile will remind you that the newssheet Trewe Encountre first appeared in 1513. One thing is for sure: All of these publications clearly predate the existence of the modern copy editor—the spelling is atrocious.

Really it depends on your definition of “newspaper.” Some people believe it began in Rome in 59 B.C., with a publicly posted listing of daily events, named, aptly enough, Acta Diurna. Others will tell you that, just like with spaghetti, the Chinese had the Italians beat here, too; a newssheet called Tipao is believed to have been distributed in Beijing beginning as early as 202 B.C.

But if you ask me, it goes back a lot further than that. All the way back to the Neanderthal man and his cave paintings. In the Stone Age, cavemen used to draw pictures on cave walls as a way to warn each other of the dinosaurs that were trying to eat them. Distribution was tricky, as the cave painting offered zero in the way of portability. As such, news didn’t travel slow—it didn’t travel at all. As you can imagine, a lot of cavemen were eaten by dinosaurs.

The question really is how do you get your news? Can you wait until tomorrow to read yesterday’s news? Because that means you’re two days behind. So what happens if you wait two weeks to get your news? Just ask a caveman—or better yet, ask the dinosaur that ate him.

Those are questions we started asking at Drug Store News about 10 years ago, when we launched the first iteration of www.drugstorenews.com. We had a pretty good idea that as fast as the business was moving—even back then—our readers couldn’t afford to wait two days, let alone two weeks, to get the news they need to remain competitive today.

Our answer was the Web site. We began providing online daily news updates in March 1998. Over the years we have added photo capacity, a portal for continuing education for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and, most recently, nurse practitioners and physician assistants practicing in a retail-based health clinic setting. Earlier this year we introduced a series of electronic newsletters—one daily retail news edition and five weekly category-specific editions. 

This month, we overhauled the site once again to add a new video component; DrugStoreNews.TV, we are calling it. The initial programming includes an inaugural address from National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson, who talked about the value of community pharmacy not only to the American healthcare system, but also to the economy. Most important, Anderson noted the critical need for the industry to get out in front of America and tell that story and the important role Drug Store News— through its many communication platforms—plays in delivering the message.

You’d really have to be a caveman to think that the Internet wasn’t important. Which is why I was a bit confused by an article I read recently in a publication that covers the publishing industry. It was kind of like watching Star Wars; “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” That’s all I could think about as I read the story.

Don’t get me wrong; It’s not like I was ever much of a science-fiction fan. I was never a “Trekkie.” And I’m not really a big Star Wars fan, either. I really only saw the first two, and frankly, I am a little annoyed that those films are now parts four and five of a six-part saga that I am sure is just a big contract and a bad script away from becoming a seven-part saga. I just never really bought into Lucas’ whole prequel concept.

Still, there I was thinking about Star Wars, as I’m reading this story about these two publishing executives, who, for the purpose of this discussion shall remain anonymous. Let’s just say, they were two executives from “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” who worked for magazines that covered an industry A LOT like retail pharmacy.

Anyway, these two executives were discussing the importance of a new form of communication that was A LOT like the Internet. One of the magazines had made a major commitment to this new form of communication; the other had not. “People don’t get their information that way,” the executive from that other magazine said—or something A LOT like that.

That’s a pretty good story if you’re a science-fiction fan. Because meanwhile, right now, in this galaxy, on this planet, in this industry, more and more people are getting their news that way. Drug Store News has known this for quite a while. Back in March we had more than 45,000 registered users visit us at www.drugstorenews.com; that number has grown by about one-third since then. We are expecting a similar increase in the months ahead as more and more people visit the site looking for the most up-to-the-minute news about the retail pharmacy industry.

And it’s not just the retailers and vendors who make their business in community pharmacy that are coming to www.drugstorenews.comto get information about this industry. It’s Wall Street. It’s Capitol Hill. It’s state lawmakers, policy makers, policy advisors, regulators, managed care companies, big healthcare payers, etc. It’s the people who are deciding the future of community pharmacy every day.

The question really is how do you get your news? Can you wait until tomorrow to read yesterday’s news?

Or maybe you’re just one of those people who doesn’t believe in the Internet; one of those people that thinks they can actually survive in this business waiting every two weeks to get their information. I thought people like that only existed “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.”

Oh well, maybe it’s just me. It must help if you’re into science fiction though, I guess. Because that way when you read yesterday’s news tomorrow it wouldn’t really matter as much; you could always just pretend it was a prequel—or something A LOT like that.

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Kroger appoints Going as Michigan division president

BY Adam Kraemer

CINCINNATI The Kroger Co. announced Wednesday that it has named Rick Going president of the company’s new Michigan division.

Kroger currently operates 138 stores in the state; Going will oversee operations in them, effective immediately.

During his 26-year tenure with Kroger, Going has held a number of district- and division-level leadership positions at the store and has served as vice president of Retail Operations and vice president of Merchandising for Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division.

“Rick brings extensive experience in operations and merchandising to this new role,” said Don McGeorge, Kroger’s president and chief operating officer. “We look forward to his leadership as he works with our associates to build on Kroger’s growth in Michigan by focusing on our customers to create even better shopping experiences for them.”

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NACDS responds to “misleading” New York Times article

BY DSN STAFF

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has fired back at The New York Times after the publication ran an article in its Sept. 18 issue titled, “The ‘Poisonous Cocktail’ of Multiple Drugs.”

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

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