The Journal Celebrates 25 Years

The Journal Celebrates 25 Years

Publication continues its mission, sharing the top industrial automation trends and best practices to help you maximize plant efficiency, profitability and productivity.

Twenty-five years in publication. In the publishing world, that’s a huge fete, as magazines tend to rise and fall — and often are gobbled up by their competition. So why has The Journal remained one of the best custom publications in the industry? First, you should know how it all began.

Just 25 years ago, the Internet and industrial automation control were still in their infancy. Controller Area Network (CAN) and DeviceNet™ protocols were all the rage. At the forefront of these technology changes was Allen-Bradley company, now Rockwell Automation, but because of the “newness” of these technology disruptors, the company leaders knew they needed to better inform its users.

To address this challenge, Rockwell Automation decided sharing technical information via a magazine would be the best way to help industrial firms do their jobs better. Taking it a step further — and key to the magazine’s 25-year staying power — was the company’s goal to not just provide valuable content its readers desired, but to do so without sales and marketing hype.

So, Rockwell Automation opted to collaborate with an independent publisher to help ensure content remained nonpromotional, credible and objective. That’s where we come in. Putman Publishing Company (now Putman Media) began its collaboration with Allen-Bradley and Padilla Speer Beardsley (now Padilla) public relations firm and launched the A-B Journal at the 1994 Automation Fair® event in St. Louis.

"In a world teeming with news sources, it is great to have a solid, consistent, and reliable place to read articles about contemporary issues impacting industry today and tomorrow. The Journal has proven to be the source for information that cuts through the hype, whether it’s the Industrial Internet of Things [IIoT], network security, software trends or new products." — Jerry Penick, commercial manager for North America Industry & OEM, Rockwell Automation

In the magazine’s introduction, Putman CEO John Cappelletti promised to deliver an independent publication that educates and gives manufacturers “the latest technical information available to help maximize plant efficiency, profitability and productivity.”

With a new name but the same mission 25 years later, The Journal from Rockwell Automation and Our PartnerNetworkTM still holds true to its goal of educating industrial automation professionals. Along the way, the magazine has earned numerous editorial and graphic excellence awards (see all our accolades).

Partners are Key to Success

Back in the day, the A-B Journal collaboration went beyond Rockwell Automation and Putman Media. Because PartnerNetwork companies are involved in deploying many Rockwell Automation solutions, the company knew it was important to include those partners in the publication. Readers wanted stories containing real-world examples, and the partners had lots of them. 

The Journal has provided an excellent platform for our Solution Partners to promote their successes in applying Rockwell Automation and Encompass™ partner technologies, into solutions that provide increased value for our customers,” explains Mark Moriarty, manager, System Integrator and Solution Partner Program, Rockwell Automation.

The Journal team engages with the Solution Partner and their customer to efficiently and effectively help create the stories, then place them both electronically and in print to help share those successes with our customer base who subscribe to The Journal. This continues to be a best practice and great value to the Solution Partners,” he adds.

Partner participation in The Journal certainly is key to its success. Rockwell Automation and member companies in its PartnerNetwork™ program contribute editorial content, and also provide the advertising support that keeps The Journal publishing six times per year in print. Several Rockwell Automation partner companies have been around more than 25 years and remain active editorial contributors and/or advertisers in The Journal today.

The Journal is a powerful, reliable resource for both us and the members of our PartnerNetwork,” notes John Lewis, director of Business Partnering at Rockwell Automation. “Our joint customers get to learn about our product integration, our evolution as the industry changes, and the power of why we are better together. It’s also a vehicle for feedback and interaction with peers that continues the conversation between our events such as Automation Fair®, Process Solution User Group (PSUG) and Rockwell Automation TechED.

“It has been fun watching The Journal mature into the trusted publication it is today. Partnering with other companies in the industry and our customers sets us apart as an automation supplier. I look forward to seeing how we continue to advance our unique value to the industry,” Lewis says.

"The longevity of this award-winning publication is a testament to the creative and technical talent found in the staff of The Journal, as well as to their dedication in putting out a unique and informative product unprecedented in the industry. Thank you for helping us deliver our collective message to our important customers, and I’m looking forward to our solid future and delivering on our brand promise “Expanding Human Possibility” together." — Yas Harasawa, manager, Business Partnering at Rockwell Automation

“Over the last 25 years, The Journal has been an excellent avenue for marketing our Rockwell Automation products. This partnership has brought us access to many new markets and industries.  The Journal’s focus on the Connected Enterprise has enabled us and our partners to go to market with a fully integrated solution,” adds Mike Wilhelm, president, Helm Instrument Co., Inc., a Rockwell Automation Encompass Partner.

The Journal has been instrumental in showing its readers how they can be more successful in every aspect of their operation; encouraging strategic thinking and planning; and highlighting the importance of a Connected Enterprise,” says Lauren Robeson Menting, global communications specialist at ProSoft Technology, a long-time Rockwell Automation Encompass Product Partner and advertiser of The Journal. “We look forward to the coming years when The Journal will continue to inspire its readers!”

Long-Lasting Legacy

The Journal certainly has evolved with the times. It has survived an acquisition, several recessions and changes in management — both at Putman Media and Rockwell Automation. With all this, it’s typical for publications to lose focus and even succumb to the budget chopping block, but Rockwell Automation and Putman Media remain committed to its magazine and its customers.

Company-sponsored magazines for users and customers come and go. A lot of companies try them, get excited, do them, but then don’t remain committed to them or the user group,” notes Putman Media’s Cappelletti.

“It has been a rare privilege to be a partner with Rockwell Automation in producing The Journal for the past 25 years,” he continues. “The Rockwell Automation team has always taken the task of putting together a quality magazine for its customers very seriously. When it launched, it was unique in how ambitious the plan was, similar to the Automation Fair® event. Today, 25 years later, it remains the most awarded and useful company-sponsored publication in all of manufacturing.”

Thanks to advances in digital publishing, The Journal now offers even more content beyond its six print issues with e-newsletters, white papers, eBooks, on-demand webinars, and videos highlighting top products at the Automation Fair® event. With the continued growth and evolution of industrial automation, rest assured, The Journal will continue to follow its mission, helping you keep up with trends and best practices designed to keep your operations efficient, safe and profitable.


The Journal From Rockwell Automation and Our PartnerNetwork™ is published by Putman Media, Inc.

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