Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The power of print

With the constant evolution of technology, journalism is undergoing a radical change in both format and content.  It is being adopted across a diverse range of social media platforms, all of which are designed to engage you in different ways.  This is enabling people to both access journalism and create it for themselves. However, with the rise of the digital age, we are seeing a decline in the amount of print journalism purchased and an increase in digital journalism, but is this a good thing?

Below is a chart showing the monthly figures from April 2012 of popular print and online newspapers.

So is this actually an issue?  Well some may argue no – it’s great that journalism can be accessed on-the-go, you don’t have to lug about a massive broadsheet newspaper, fumbling about with it on public transport and the like.  It’s also possibly more diverse in content and far more cost efficient; I have often found myself flicking past political articles that don’t take my fancy and generally don’t even make it to the sports pages. Digital journalism allows you to filter your interests more efficiently by allowing you to tailor them.  Online journalism is also usually free which means saving yourself a little bit of dollar to go towards that latte at work, a sound investment right?

Wellllll, maybe not... Journalism on-the-go is great; being able to have constant updates from around the world on various topics, is really quite wonderful.  However, in doing so, it is actually acting as a catalyst for the slow, painful death of print.  Well what’s so great about print anyway?  Personally I think it is all about the physical interaction - yes you may have to lug it about a bit, but turning the pages of a glossy magazine infused with their latest promotional perfume or turning the crisp pages of a Sunday paper that has undergone the production process of a fine craft, withholds a certain inimitable quality.

Print is something that stays with you, it engages you both physically and mentally, and for me, that is quite a sacred experience.  Print offers me something that online can’t.  When I buy a newspaper or magazine, I want to sit down with a coffee (and let’s face it, probably a bit of cake too), and take my time reading through it.  I want to absorb it, not scan it; I don’t want to scroll down a plastic screen which I can’t read with ease, I want to turn each individual page and see what it has to offer.  Print also offers you the chance to learn and discover something new.  Yes, as stated above, digital journalism offers a great filtering process but, at the same time, works in a similar way to that of comfort eating – yes you like it, but maybe you should try some other things too.

Although digital journalism may be prints nemesis, it does provide it with a certain stature.  Generally speaking, as we see things reduce in quantity, they become more of a precious commodity and that is what I believe print has become.  Previously, print was the only form of journalism available and, as a result, may have been taken for granted.  However, now that digital journalism has made its début along with much, much more, I believe that our outlook regarding print has also changed.  Print journalism has become a luxury, a thing of leisure, and with this it has become something to treasure, appreciate and more importantly; respect.

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