Technology has become apart of our everyday lives. As I’m typing this I’m sitting in my studio looking around. Out of the six students in here, three are on laptops, one on a smartphone, one flipping through a library book and the other….well the other is playing with a staple gun. We soak in so much information through these digital devices that we do not really have the need to look anywhere else. I rarely buy magazine subscriptions and instead I go to the internet to see basically the same information (and for free). So is print dead? No, I really don’t think so. Although the internet provides the convenience of accessing information when I want to, nothing quite compares to holding the actual publication, feeling the quality of the pages and being able to enjoy that satisfying relaxing motion of turning the page. However, printed media is kind of in a threatened state as digital media is becoming easier to access, more affordable and more economical.
Let me just say it, print is beautiful, the internet is not. Reading something online is just not the same as feeling the paper, and having that feeling that your time was well spent as you flip through the last page on that Vogue magazine you just picked up at CVS (guilty). I find it a little troublesome that it has become almost an endangered species. I don’t frequently buy magazines, so it is almost like a novelty. It is kind of like when you were little and your mom would give you .50 for that coin-operated machine so you could get a flimsy plastic ring. It holds a little resonance that the internet just cannot match.
Jeff Jarvis argues that conversation is better on a platform such as a blog compared to printed media. This argument can go both ways. Printed media offers a private informative conversation between the editor, writer, photographer (etc) and the reader. It’s kind of an intimate moment. Maybe a little one sided as Jarvis argues, but isn’t that why you are reading this article? To be informed?
Print is the perfect introduction to an informed debate and to the deep resources of the web. The words and pictures in print or on a magazine’s web site become the basis for searching, linking, talking and ranting for those with the time or inclination to do so. The web is the friend of print, not its killer. – John Griffin
Given the fact that printed media gives a one-way conversation, I think it can be agreed upon that it leaves the perfect opportunity for wanting more and inspiring further research. The two can definitely work together.
But then comes that tricky topic of trust and branding. We trust in sources that we know. New York Times, National Geographic, The Portland Press Herald; we trust that these sources give us information that is valid, pertinent and true. It’s hard to trust media outlets that are uncensored (such as this one). How do you know I’m telling the truth right now? You don’t! I could sit here and make up a bunch of hoop-lah trying to make you believe something that is completely untrue. You think you are reading the facts but could easily be consuming fiction. As readers we have the comfort of knowing that the information we are reading has been researched and there is an editor hanging around somewhere. You know that topic you just read has been heavily researched and studied, or else that well known magazine would be letting their name and their brand to shame.
Conversation is the kingdom, and trust is the king. – Jeff Jarvis
Conversation is crucial, but trust is even more, and unfortunately blogs and sites such as wikipedia do not offer that sense of trust. Anyone can blog, but not everyone can write for the New York Times.
Now, I do think that these big publications need to look at where the world is getting their information from and like Kristina Loring states, they need to adapt. They need to hire bloggers and allow a conversation to be formed while still providing trustworthy information to hungry readers. Combining the brand of the publication, the trust of knowing an editor is present and the art of conversation will allow an easy transition onto the web.
The print form is still a valuable piece to the content puzzle, serving as unique offering, an artifact that holds meaningful value. – Kristina Loring
Buying a physical magazine is always going to hold significance, people crave that physicality, that relationship between them and the paper between their fingers. But just like animals, publications need evolve into a form that is going to survive, and that starts by establishing their presence and reclaiming their respected reputation online.