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No Paper Here

No Paper Here

The press room at a trade show used to be nothing but paper — press releases, press kits, spec sheets — all stacked in alphabetical order in a series of bins that stretched along entire walls. The tables were covered with discarded releases, many of them with notes scribbled in the margins by some reporter who had used it for a story he or she was working on. Many of them held telltale signs of a hasty cup of mid-day coffee; ring-shaped stains decorated many a sheet.

Today, Expo East is among the venues leading the way in sustainable operations. The press room is augmented with a few printers, connected to the computer terminals that now line the same wall. But otherwise there's nary a paper in sight. It's becoming more of an event room. Just before the show floor opens, organizers will host a media breakfast and a panel discussion on new products debuting at the show. At the end of the day, members of the media and select manufacturers have been invited to a cocktail reception. Reporters still love free wine and booze. The quantities consumed are much more reserved than in years past, but make no mistake: The forum is as popular as ever.

Of course, the coffee urn is still there, too. That's another thing that will never change. Well, it better not.