Warwick H. Davies, principal, The Event Mechanic!, shared the following obituary with Convene:
Michael Hart, best known as the editor in chief for Tradeshow Week, died on March 12, 2021, at age 67, after a valiant but tragic battle with cancer. He attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, graduating from Raymond College, and as a graduate student pursued journalism at the University of Arizona.
His first job after graduate school was as the editor in chief of the Glendale Star and Peoria Times in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Hart’s interest in local journalism landed him a job with the Los Angeles Times in 1998. He edited for the “Our Times” division, which focused on the vast diversity of L.A. neighborhoods. The L.A. Times’ takeover by the Chicago Tribune ended its neighborhood orientation, but Hart found another “local” niche in the business-to-business magazine realm. He edited the San Fernando Valley edition of the Los Angeles Business Journal, then moved on to become editor in chief of Tradeshow Week.
While at the helm of Tradeshow Week, Hart’s career took a pronounced turn. As the journal’s editor, he proved repeatedly that he was not only a first-rate journalist, but a savvy, candid, and outspoken industry observer. When business reporters needed a well-informed source, Hart was always the first one they phoned. They knew they could count on him for accurate details, keen insights, and maverick opinions.
Tradeshow Week served as the must-read news weekly for more than 8,000 subscribers until, unable to compete with online news sites, it was shuttered in 2010, along with 25 other trade journals owned by its parent company, Reed Elsevier.
Out of a job, Hart moved to run the leading education-technology journal, and soon after to edit the No. 1 event industry monthly, EXPO; but that magazine survived only another five years before ceasing publication. The decline of print journalism was not totally kind to Hart, even though he had the foresight to master digital and online formats. Despite many challenges, he continued to work for a variety of media and event-related businesses as an editor, writer, conference producer, and event organizer, until his retirement in 2019.
“Michael became the go-to journalist for the exhibition industry,” said Steven Hacker, principal of Bravo Management Group and former president of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events. “He was a passionate and reliable spokesman for trade shows in the U.S. and around the world.”
Sam Lippman, president of Lippman Connects, said “Michael was smart, curious, and always probing for the story behind the story. He was successful because he could be trusted. We in the trade show industry appreciated and benefited from his professionalism.”