While the news around town is that print is a flailing industry, there’s a program at an Alberta college that is helping it stay alive.

Norquest College’s Centre for Excellence in Print Media in Edmonton was named one of the top 101 events to have helped shape Canada’s print industry by PrintAction Magazine.

“We’re really excited that we’ve been recognized as a major event, especially because we only started in 2008,” said Josh Ramsbottom, co-ordinator of the Centre for Excellence in Print Media.

“This shows that there’s a real need for the centre and that makes me really happy.”

Looking at a long list of print-related events since the beginning of the century, PrintAction Magazine editor Jon Robinson said they recognized the centre because of its holistic approach to moving the print industry forward.

“It’s really a vital institution in the sense that the industry’s really lacking the ability to attract younger generations — the centre is attracting young people,” Robinson explained.

“It’s important to give somewhere to go for younger people to learn about the industry, but it’s also very important for professionals already in print to continue learning, which the centre is also doing.”

“We’re trying to make a work-force-ready graduate with our program, but we also provide a number of professional development classes for those who have been working in print for a while now — we’re trying to keep print relevant.” Ramsbottom said.

“The exciting part is that students, industry owners and employees can come to Edmonton and experience new technologies.”

Ramsbottom said a common misconception is that the term “print” is only limited to newspapers and magazines.

“It’s much more than that,” he said.

“It’s not just the old-fashioned newspaper man in western movies, wearing an apron covered in ink. Print has become incredibly high-tech and it’s everywhere — in brochures, on billboards, in books.”

Since the program’s inception, Ramsbottom said they have invested close to $3.5 million for new software and technology. He said they continue to work with other schools and industry from around the world to stay current and in the fast-paced industry.

So is print dead?

“No, print is not dead,” Ramsbottom said adamantly.

“There are so many different options now. It’s not dead — it just has a bunch of different new faces.”

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