It's 1985, and a European news magazine is born

April 15, 2005

Members of the original editorial and publishing staff look back at the formative days of DI Europe

Peter Ogle, Editor, Diagnostic Imaging, 1982 to 2001, and former Editorial Director of Diagnostic Imaging Europe

As a callow young editor in 1985, I had a tough enough time keeping track of all that was happening in U.S. radiology, much less in Europe. The November issue of Diagnostic Imaging (USA) that year was 278 pages, more than 100 pages bigger than it was in 2003. With a staff of six editors, producing enough good copy to fill 12 issues a year seemed about all we could manage at the time.

And yet there was Europe: the cradle of radiology, the home of the Karolinska Institute, the Hammersmith Hospital, the University of Berlin, and other great centers of radiology learning. How could a publication that billed itself as "The newsmagazine of radiology, nuclear medicine, and ultrasound" ignore such fonts of knowledge across the Atlantic?

We had already made forays into Europe. My first visit as editor was in 1983 to the then-quadrennial European Congress of Radiology in Bordeaux. I can recall a hot, cramped conference center, plenty of good wine, and poignant discussion of what was already a yawning gap between Europe and the U.S. in investment in imaging technology. I met a few bright European radiologists, and back home we began pondering how we could build on these relationships.

Our sole European contributor in those days was a peripatetic Irishman, a medical freelancer I never met. He was both durable and dependable, but we needed more. The occasional dispatch from Europe lacked context. When we decided in late 1984 to launch an "international" edition (really only European in circulation), the magazine's commercial success was not in doubt. I was less certain about our editorial strategy.

We gradually brought together a collection of European luminaries who indulged us as we built up the quality of our content. Several of them, including Dr. Francisco Abecasis of Lisbon, Dr. Paul Algra of Amsterdam, Dr. Robert Lavayssiere of Paris, and Dr. Peter Rinck of Mons, became friends. I visited them when in Europe, and we exchanged letters.

I attended every ECR and visited hospitals and research centers where the action was. Staff began to discern the distinctive qualities of European radiology and published articles solicited from some of its leading practitioners.

The comment I made frequently to my publisher in those days was that try as we might, we couldn't do justice to DI International until we actually had an editor living there. Having quick access to an international airport in San Francisco was not the same as investing in someone who ate, slept, breathed, and dreamed as a European. It took several years, but by being patient and attentive, we finally found the right person.

It was at a Philips press conference at the 1991 ECR that I heard from across the room someone with a posh British accent asking questions of uncommon quality. I didn't meet him then, but I did learn his name: Philip Ward.

After many months and a trip to the U.K. to woo him, Philip eventually agreed to become editor of the magazine that was first called Diagnostic Imaging International and is now known as DI Europe. He quickly caught on and began editing the magazine in a manner that reflects European tastes and sensibilities. From its tentative beginnings, DI Europe has matured into an indigenous and engaging magazine that stands as an independent counterpart to DI. This is a benefit to all readers and reflects the self-confidence that European radiology itself exudes in 2005.

Deborah Dakins, Feature Editor, DI

After joining Diagnostic Imaging as an assistant editor in 1987, I began climbing a steep learning curve of all things radiological. As a young reporter, I was easily intimidated by the prospect of interviewing physicians about their clinical work. That fear doubled when faced with the prospect of developing articles with an international bent. Even the most obsessive research could only postpone the inevitable: the transatlantic telephone interview.

At that time, we were completely dependent on the phone for arranging and conducting interviews. Something always seemed to go wrong when it came to those very early morning phone calls. Hunched over the receiver in my cubicle in the San Francisco office, notepad and tape recorder at the ready, I'd listen for the distinctive burr that defined a transatlantic ring. About half the time, the call was a success. The rest of the time, random problems were the norm, ranging from poor audio, a miscommunication about time, or abrupt disconnects midinterview.

Somehow, I would forge ahead of my panic and ask my questions, cringing on the occasions when they bounced back via telecommunications feedback. But neither language nor my lack of in-depth knowledge proved a barrier. European physicians were most generous when it came to sharing their knowledge and techniques.

One of the successful calls involved Dr. Laszlo Tabar, head of breast imaging at Falun Central Hospital in Sweden and already a legend in the late 1980s. His passionate belief in the benefits of widespread breast cancer screening proved contagious. My first conversation with Tabar in 1988 sparked an ongoing personal and professional interest in all aspects of mammography.

The annual RSNA meeting offered another opportunity in crash-course learning about radiology domestically and abroad. It was also a chance to meet European physicians and our editorial advisors at the publication's annual cocktail party. My first was an eye-opening event. Like Tabar, the contingent of international advisors seemed incredibly candid and approachable compared with their U.S. counterparts. It's also my recollection that the bar routinely remained open much later than at the party held for the domestic edition of DI. I suspect that there may be a relationship between these two statements.

One early editorial advisor I remember well is Prof. Peter N.T. Wells from Bristol, U.K. Wells, currently chair of the archives and history committee of the World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, was invaluable for his insights about the politics of medical practice. Moreover, his sparkling wit never failed to enliven our annual cocktail party.

Colleen Rodgers, former Marketing Manager and Publisher of DII

At an international MRI meeting in London during August 1985, I learned that working the European congress circuit would, indeed, be different. Picker held its hospitality function outdoors in Queen's Square, with an actress, most convincing, portraying Queen Victoria. She was posing for photos, and Peter Ogle illustrated that he was capable of crossing the cultural divide by kissing her outstretched gloved hand.

Two years later, at the ECR in Lisbon, many locations were used to accommodate the speakers and exhibitors, so the shuttle buses traveled all over the vast city, giving us great tours.

At the European Nuclear Medicine Congress in Budapest in 1987, I was astonished to see all delegates being allowed unlimited free rides on any public transport throughout the Budapest area, a unique congress location indeed.

Much of my travel was to corporate offices across Europe. Toshiba was located in the picturesque town of Delft. Schering's Berlin office was a great destination, both before and after the reunification of Germany. A visit to Philips usually involved a train ride to Eindhoven and a car ride to the headquarters, often followed by a fabulous lunch somewhere in the Dutch countryside. Close to the Siemens office in Erlangen, the hotel provided, along with the bible, a book about beer. Visiting GE and Thomson meant a trip to Paris, a great city where, in 1989, we published a daily newspaper during the ECR. July 14 marked 200 years since the storming of the Bastille, and we were surrounded by French history during the congress.

The magazine was initially printed in Bray, Republic of Ireland, and then later at Hendrik Ido Ambacht in the Netherlands. The nine-hour time difference between San Francisco and most of Europe was always challenging, and once I recall falling asleep during a meeting with our printer.

Another challenge was building a circulation list. In those early days, I carried back to San Francisco many large paper printouts given to us by societies and associations. Our circulation department had to learn a new language; e.g., that D means Germany, and in many countries the surname always goes first.

We spent a lot of time educating potential readers about the audit process of a controlled circulation magazine and convincing them that the copies were, indeed, free. Over time, trust was built in our integrity for handling individual requests and mailing lists.

Miller Freeman, the company that first published DII, had an experienced sales team based in its Brussels office: Brian Bussey and the talented linguist, Wanda Schaar, whose combined experience proved very helpful over the years in building our advertising base and circulation list. The editorial board members were brilliant. Not only did they agree to work with us on this new venture, they understood and embraced the concept of our journalistic and editorial philosophy. They were eager to publish review articles and help recruit other authors.

The decision to use English for a pan-European magazine was much debated internally and with the companies and doctors. We followed the trend set by various congresses and national meetings requiring that scientific papers be presented in English, "the medical language."

Hassaun Ali Jones-Bey, former Editor, DII

I began my employment at DII during the summer of 1989, and a month later, I was watching Senegal's national ballet company in Le Jardin des Tuileries during the International Con-gress of Radiology and the French bicentennial celebration. I remember that more than three times as many of our wonderful European editorial advisors attended a DII breakfast during an RSNA meeting as the number of American advisors attended the DI (USA) breakfast the following morning.

I remember the laughter of telephone operators, who responded in English after I tried to speak French when calling from home at 2 a.m. for interviews. I remember interviews being granted out of sympathy when people realized where I was calling from and what time it was.

I remember writing "Improve world health: ride a bicycle" (October 1990) on the eve of war with Iraq, to lament the 5:1 imbalance in purchase ratio (military use by advanced countries over civilian use by developing countries) of World Health Organization Basic Radiology Systems.*

I could fill a book with rich and deeply memorable experiences, but, sadly, space does not permit.

*Jones-Bey would be glad to know that in DI's San Francisco office, editor John Hayes, assistant editor Fran Taylor, and Web master Scott Bendure all commute daily by bicycle.

Wanda Schaar, Sales Representative, DI Europe

When a good idea is ready, it just takes off. This is what happened to the international edition of DI 20 years ago. The idea was a brilliant combination of science and industry. European medicine was looking for a communication medium, and the European radiology equipment industry needed a marketing tool.

Brian Bussey had started BWB Media Services just one year before DII first appeared. Tom Kemp, our founding publisher, paid a visit to Brussels to ask if we could handle this new publication. We were then representing six other titles-all in traditional industries like paper, forestry/wood, energy, mining-and we had our hands full, but somehow we made time for DII.

Many people knew DI's name, but we had to keep explaining to readers and advertisers that this was not just a replica, that it had its own European identity. Crowds of radiologists gathered around our distribution tables at early radiology meetings. I felt like a school teacher helping dozens of radiologists fill in their free subscription cards in English. Our traditional titles all seemed a bit tired, while the DI titles were exhilarating and rewarding, though also challenging.

Our next publisher was the lively Colleen Rodgers from New Zealand, followed by Katy Fletcher, who had the brilliant idea of splitting the various editions into DI Europe, Asia Pacific, and America Latina in the mid-90s. She was followed by the gracious Marcy Holeton, the financially shrewd Dave Lese, and now the hard-working Kathy Mischak.

"You cannot afford not to be in DI International, " said the president of our early regular advertiser, Shimadzu Europe.

We have been quoting him ever since!

At BWB, we still handle two traditional titles, but 90% of our time is absorbed by the DI titles in a more global and complex business environment. How on earth will we ever be able to retire?

Brian Bussey, Sales Representative, DI Europe

In the late 1960s, the publishing company Miller Freeman invited me to join its multinational sales team in Brussels. My family-an apprehensive young wife and three children under three-relocated to the heart of Europe. I was impressed with Miller Freeman's industry titles in the energy, mining, paper, and wood sectors. The core values of editorial quality and strictly audited circulation were stamped on each publication. We were all motivated by the paternalistic culture of the publishing group.

Advertising blossomed in these titles through the 1970s, and our international editions developed their own identities independently from the U.S. flagships. The company had the vision to explore high-tech markets and welcomed Tom Kemp's timely concept of Diagnostic Imaging for the U.S. market in 1979. During the next five years, I traveled with Tom and Peter Ogle in Europe, gathering feedback from radiologists and suppliers, who were unanimous in expressing the need for an international edition.

Some of the companies to support us in the early years were Acuson, Agfa-Gevaert (Hubert Lelie), Aloka, ATL, Bracco (Milano), Bruker, Diasonics-Sonotron, Eastman Kodak, Esaote (Sandra Sobrero), DuPont, Fuji, GE (Jim Shumacher, Len Fass), GMM (Michele Brembilla), Guerbet (Thierry Peroux), Instrumentarium (Juha Vanhala), Konica, Kontron, Nycomed (Jan Nielsen), Philips Medical Systems (John Coxon, Jan van Haaren), Picker International (the two Ullas!), Pie Medical (Ruud Kraan), Planmed (Vesa Matila), Polaroid, Schering (Ludwig Hahn), Shimadzu Europe (Hans Dieter Batz), Siemens (Gunter Petersen, Hans Joachim Rumpf), Technicare (Peter Taylor), Toshiba Medical Systems Europe (Joos Ruis), and 3M (Rudi Vandewalle).

Some companies have disappeared in the ongoing consolidation process, and, sadly, some friends mentioned are no longer with us. I remember the close cooperation, not just with our U.S. sales colleagues but with Masahiko Yoshikawa in Tokyo, who successfully developed long-term relationships with our Asian advertisers. It was a team effort. My Brussels sales and support staff guided me through the complexities of the computer age, and my loyal colleague Wanda Schaar, a brilliant linguist and administrator, made her own unique contribution.

At an early stage of DII development, Peter Ogle, an honest Oregonian, admitted he could only devote a small amount of his time to create original editorial material for Europe. The arrival of Philip Ward in 1992, followed by Paula Gould and Jeanette Marchant, transformed the status of DII, both from a reader and an advertiser standpoint. DI Europe has its own identity now. There is often reverse editorial flow from Europe to the U.S., as shown by the cover story in DI March 2005, for which editor John Hayes selected a DI Europe feature on multislice CT.

In her editorial in a recent ECR newsletter, Prof. Helen Carty refers to quantum levels of change in our ability to image and combat disease. DI Europe will continue to cover these changes for our readers with unbiased and cutting-edge reporting. However, some aspects of radiology do not change-the basic physics of x-ray generation. During the winter, my wife fractured her radius bone near the wrist, and the x-ray was not much

different from the famous 1895 image of Frau Rontgen's hand, displayed in the Rontgenmuseum in Remscheid-Lennep, Germany.

Philip Ward, Editor, DI Europe

My first assignment for the magazine was as a freelancer in 1992. Editorial director Peter Ogle asked me to write a piece about cardiac MR. He had heard that the best research was being done in Europe, and he urged me to speak with Prof. Donald Longmore at London's Royal Brompton Hospital. My next assignment was to interview potential recipients of a Nobel medical prize for MRI, and I enjoyed all the intrigue and politics. I was struck by the openness of radiologists and their desire to communicate and share ideas, and I have been hooked by the subject matter ever since.