the cole group

Who is Cole?

David M. Cole’s first foray into media was selling a photograph of a junior high school basketball game to his hometown newspaper, the late Richmond Independent, in 1968. The editor gave him a choice between a photo credit or $10; he chose the latter. Everything has been pretty much downhill since then.

Cole is the editor and publisher of NewsInc., the weekly newsletter on the business of the newspaper business, and proprietor of The Cole Group, where he is also the principal (and currently only) consultant. October 2014 marked The Cole Group’s 25th anniversary in business. In January 2011, Cole was named editor and co-owner of Steam in the Garden magazine, a print bimonthly and web site for model railroad enthusiasts who operate small locomotives that are propelled by steam rather than electricity.

The former assistant managing editor of The Hearst Corp.’s San Francisco Examiner, during his 12-year career at the paper, Cole was responsible for all newsroom computer systems for a decade (mostly under the title “systems editor”), ranging from on-line experiments in the early 1980s to developing desktop color separation systems by the end of the decade. In addition, Cole was the Examiner’s art director from 1985-1986 (running two departments at the same time), was an assistant news editor and makeup editor of the paper from 1978-79 and was a copy editor in 1977-1978. Between 1984 and 1988 he ran The Examiner Poll, a public opinion survey.

In previous lives, Cole was an assistant music editor at Rolling Stone magazine from 1976-1977 and in the early 1980s he was in show business, volunteering nights with Jon and Anne Fox, the producers of the San Francisco International Comedy Competition.

From 1989-2004, Cole was editor and publisher of The Cole Papers, a newsletter on technology, journalism and publishing. For more than a decade, Cole was a monthly columnist with Presstime magazine of the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) and was a columnist with the NAA’s late TechNews bi-monthly magazine for nine years. In addition, he has been the U.S. contributing editor for Asian Newspaper Focus of Hong Kong, columnist for Australia’s GX Report, a contributing editor and columnist at Publish and Newspapers & Technology magazines in the United States and a contributing editor at Newspaper Focus of the United Kingdom. Further, he has been a contributing columnist to The Seybold Report and has written for MacWeek, PRE, Quill, Ideas, the PANPA Bulletin, newspaper techniques and other magazines as well as the NAA’s new media web site, Digital Edge. He once wrote a narrative that became the basis for an interactive, online course offered by NewsU, the digital training program of the Poynter Institute.

A popular speaker and moderator, Cole has made presentations to the NAA (and its predecessor, the ANPA), the National Newspaper Association, the Digital Photography conferences, the Seybold conferences, the America East and America West conferences, the 1997 World Newspaper Congress in Amsterdam, the International Advertising Association’s 1997 European Regional Conference in Kiev, Ukraine, as well as numerous technology user groups and state press associations.

Cole has been a discussion leader at the late American Press Institute, and was a lecturer at the Maynard Institute’s annual Management Training Center at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University from 1994-1996. He moderated the Harris Seminar series on publishing technology throughout the 1990s and was a frequent panelist on the late cable-TV show Silicon Spin; Cole has been quoted extensively in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune and dozens of other newspapers and magazines around the world.

Affiliated with the journalism department at San Francisco State University from 1972-1984, Cole was a co-founder, editor and executive at feed/back, the California journalism report and review published by the school, from its start in 1974 until 1984: he served as executive editor, general manager and managing editor. He held a variety of roles on the weekly student newspaper then published by the department, The Phoenix, from 1972-1974: he was, variously (and at times simultaneously), advertising manager, business manager, circulation manager, news editor, assistant news editor, photo editor, assistant photo editor, photojournalist, music and movie critic and transportation reporter. From 1981-1984, Cole was a lecturer in S.F. State’s journalism department, teaching news editing and media criticism courses. Cole has also been a lecturer at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley.

A member of the Society of Professional Journalists for more than 30 years, Cole has had long-term memberships in the National Press Photographers Association and the Society for News Design.

Cole served as a member of the board of trustees of the Junior Statesmen Foundation from 1995-2008 and between 1999-2008, was a member of the board’s executive committee. From 2009-2011 he was on the group's board of directors.

In addition, Cole has a wide range of skills: he is an experienced offset lithographer, capable of camera operation, negative assembly and operating printing presses and bindery equipment. He can program in a number of dead computer languages (including Apple HyperTalk, SII Style and SII TextGen) as well as a few that are still existant (C++, PHP, HTML). An accomplished photographer, Cole is also a fair-to-middling electronics technician and systems analyst and manager.

Between 1995 and 2005, Cole was listed in Marquis Who’s Who in the West and starting in 2006, he has been listed in Marquis Who’s Who in America.

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