As web workers, of course, we get plenty of our news from the web. And there are those electronic media out there as well. And yet…I can’t help thinking of all the ways that printed information from periodicals has been useful in my own career.

The news from the world of print has not been good this week: Newsweek is in trouble. The New York Times is running out of money. The Christian Science Monitor is killing its daily print edition. Anyone watching print media over the past few years knows that declining circulation and the flight of ad dollars to the web have left many newspapers and magazines reeling, and killed many others.

As web workers, of course, we get plenty of our news from the web. And there are those electronic media out there as well. And yet…I can’t help thinking of all the ways that printed information from periodicals has been useful in my own career. I learned a lot of coding skills from reading well-written articles, and I promoted my own services by writing articles.

Am I just stuck in the past, like those people who thought television would never catch on? Or is there still a niche in your world for the printed periodical and the daily dead-trees newspaper? If the decline of the print media industry continues, is there anything you’ll miss?

  1. As odd as it seems, I’d miss some of the ads in my trade magazines. They tend to get removed in the online versions, and I’ve run across several interesting products or services that way. Sites like the former Mygazines.com solved this by presenting an online version of the print magazine, in the same format as the print. A hybrid of this with clickable ads would be the best of both worlds.

  2. I write full time for a website but get 4 newspapers a day and a dozen magazines per month. It is amazing how often my eye catches something that would never come up in a search or an RSS reader. Also the ads are important sources. I am killing a lot of trees in the service of my career, but I will miss the big spread of newsprint when it is gone.

  3. I get all of my news online now.

    I think this news has big implications for the PR industry – we are continually trying to help our clients understand the importance of online articles vs. print.

  4. “Print” is too facile.

    I get most of my news from feeds, and much of the rest of it from TV. But an important supplement is from magazines. The daily newspaper, which my wife insists on keeping, primarily provides the comics and the occasional local news item (I never get local news feeds) or novelty item. Oh, almost forgot: a big chunk of news from radio.

    Sports news, by contrast, comes mainly from TV.

    But I do all my literature reading from print. And print works really well for street signs. :-)

    Print also works really well for writing, although cursive works better.

  5. I don’t think print will ever die-they’ve been calling for its demise since the late 90s, and it hasn’t happened yet.

    Why? People simply enjoy the feel of an actual paper or magazine in their hands. And lets face it: no matter how advanced RSS feeds and the like get, you can’t take your laptop or BlackBerry into the tub.

    Yes, many more publications will die-the ones who haven’t been able to adapt to a print/online duality. But the ones who figure it out will thrive.

  6. I love newspapers. I love my smallish town paper and I read the WSJ every day. I’d get the NYT, too, if I had the time to read it. There’s just something about relaxing with a newspaper for awhile each day that I enjoy.

  7. One of the benefits of print is that it’s hardish to do. Web publishing by contrast is easier. Result there is an unmanageable flood of web publishing. No way to filter it that satisfies me!!

    On the other hand a lot of print gravitates to a lowest common denominator. To sell a lot it seems to assume the audience are morons. Unfortunately that seems to work. (Like it does in the broadcast media.) In contrast web content runs a wide range. True some assume you’re a moron but there are also those who push the envelope and actually think. In other words some web is better. Given a good enough filter the web can be better.

    A danger is that web is easy to do and some blogging mindsets encourage frequent posting, rather than thorough work. A lot of print work is well researched, properly fact checked and actually gets copy edited.

    Somewhere here there is a chance of a better world.

  8. I already don’t.

  9. I find myself rarely reading print these days, but if print media died, somehow I think I would still miss it. It’s one of those “don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” things. Magazines and newspapers are going to remain in business; they will be smaller, but will survive.

  10. I’m a career newspaper journalist (sometimes editor). So, first of all, I’d miss having a livelihood.

    Second, I already do miss print to a degree. Reading onscreen is too closely related to working onscreen. When I pick up a printed book, magazine or newspaper, my brain switches to a different mode. If it’s work related, I concentrate better reading print, if it’s not work related, I relax better.

    I’m the kind of editor who still prints documents to proofread them. And I know for a fact my proofreading is far more accurate on a printed document than on a screen.


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