Have We Completely Underestimated the Viability and Usefulness of the Print Product?

Washington Post journalist, Michael Rosenfeld sums it up:


“Two decades have passed since newspapers launched websites, and yet here we are. The reality is this: No app, no streamlined website, no “vertical integration,” no social network, no algorithm, no Apple, no Apple Newsstand, no paywall, no soft paywall, no targeted ad, no mobile-first strategy has come close to matching the success of print in revenue or readership.”


Well, Mr. Rosenfeld…I concur!


Of course, I’m biased, being the Editor of TODAY Magazine as well as a contributing writer. I admit, that a part of my bias comes from being a bit of a “dinosaur”. Learning the ins and out of digital media is quite frankly, intimidating to me. But the other part of me really likes the feel of a book or a magazine. The new smell of the pages of the latest hardcover or the distinctive scent of an old, weathered and familiar favorite – it’s intoxicating! And who doesn’t like browsing a bookstore? Most Chapters stores even have a Starbucks inside just to make your journey through pages even more comfortable as your fingers trail the shelves, macchiato in hand. I can’t be the only person who gets excited for the monthly arrival of my favorite magazines.


It was inevitable that there would be a crossover between the digital world and the print world. Many people have found voices and opinions through writing blogs and then sharing them on social networks, yours truly included. Newspapers and magazines all have on-line editions readily available to read. Makes life very easy to be able to access the latest in world news, fashion, food & drink, business, etc…with just a few clicks of a keyboard, 24 hours a day. Yet, even the most hard-core techies from this millennial generation, including my 19-year old and 15-year old sons, will grudgingly admit that they like to pick up a book to read. I could argue that this proclivity towards reading is hereditary, but really, I think we all need to take a closer look at the situation and realize that it doesn’t need to be an either/or thing: one is a resource for the other. Digital and print are fully capable of co-existing.


Marcus Webb and Rob Orchard, editorial directors of the UK’s Slow Journalism Company, echo this sentiment. “For all the wily charms of the digital world and its tweets, feeds, blogs and apps, there is nothing like the pleasure created by ink and paper,” they insist.


We just need to define the purpose of print and online and we need to focus on something other than the either/or dichotomies; it’s more about the AND!

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