I’m writing this letter on Inauguration Day.

According to the news, pretty much the whole country is caught up in this historic moment (polls are saying more than 80 percent of the country approves of the new president’s performance so far). There’s no doubt that a turning of the corner is needed in this country, especially in the economy.

Of course, no president has a magic formula, and for all the hopes of the country, we are likely going to face tough economic times ahead. We at JCK (through JCK magazine, JCK Luxury magazine and are going to do our best to help our readers navigate these waters.

Speaking of change, this issue is an exciting part of a new editorial calendar for 2009. Instead of our traditional issue themes (bridal, color, gold, etc.), we’re getting more topical and timely this year, with focuses on manufacturing, retailing, fashion, and more.

This issue features a terrific 10-executive panel on the state of manufacturing in the U.S. and highlights both the challenges and opportunities we currently face. It’s precisely the type of editorial that our team at JCK excels in, and it’s a great source of pride to have it in the magazine.

Happily, while some things change, others remain consistent. We recently undertook a blind survey of the industry, and the results again confirm the perception of our publications.

When asked to choose which one of the four jewelry industry trades is best described by the statement “Is an industry authority,” JCK came in first place with an outstanding 62 percent of the votes. When asked which one of the four is best described by the statement “Has editors who are experts in the field,” JCK received 56 percent of the votes. Fifty-three percent of the respondents said JCK is the one trade that is best described by the statement “It’s a publication I trust.”

These numbers are critical for us, and they represent the accomplishment of precisely what we strive for each month editorially. They are also terrific for our advertisers, as the reader’s opinion of a magazine is known to have a “halo effect” on its advertisers as well. Indeed, the survey also ranked JCK in first place (with 48 percent) on the statement, “Advertising in this publication seems more believable than advertising in other publications.”

A note of congratulations and thanks for a terrific 24 Karat Club weekend. Once again, Phyllis Bergman knocked herself out pulling together an amazing evening. I know I was not alone in feeling the night gave me precisely the shot of optimism and levity I needed! I also want to thank John Kennedy and the Jewelers’ Security Alliance for recognizing the JCK Publishing Group and The JCK Show for our annual support of JSA through our JCK Industry Fund. It’s our honor to have donated over $4 million over the past decade, and we’re delighted that much of it has gone to such a fine organization.

P.S. If you are on Facebook, type “JCK Publishing Group” in the search bar and join our page! It’s a spot to celebrate the lighter side of our publication and our community and we’d love to have you as a part of it!