“A perspective-altering piece is worth more for 10,000 in print than as a brief distraction for 100,000 online.”
“Print is beautiful. It can’t notify you when a work email arrives, can’t be tweeted mid-sentence, and won’t die without a charger. Even better, it’s finite.”
So writes Chava Gourarie in Columbia Journalism Review as she dissects the new role of print two decades into digital publishing.
“For years, the new media vanguard has preached ‘digital first’ and the death knell has sounded again and again for print, as legendary magazines moved online or ceased publication altogether,” Gourarie writes. “Now, 20 years into the digital revolution, print is making something of a comeback. Tablet, Politico, and The Pitchfork Review are among the successful digital publications that have ventured into print. Nautilus, Kinfolk, and California Sunday Magazine have launched in print in the last few years, and their audiences are passionate and growing.”
Those titles are put out by publishers and editorial teams that are just as passionate about the medium, like Mark Oppenheimer, editor at large of Tablet magazine, which debuted last month.
“Some of our best content deserves to be on the newsstand or on someone’s coffee table for a while,” Oppenheimer told Gourarie. “You can reach more people online…but at what cost?”
It’s this mindset that is proving successful in the new “new” media of print, as publishers recognize the difference between long form, permanent content designed for print and the short-lived reality of most digital content.
“It’s primal,” says Ruth Jamieson, author of Print is Dead: Long Live Print. “You can replicate the content online and people will still want the physical object.”
“Far from digital being the grim reaper for print,” she says, “it’s actually made it easier to start a magazine.”
Gourarie agrees, saying, “The Web enables publishers to find and connect with their audiences, and most editorial operations related to running a magazine can be done online.”
As the “print is alive” reality begins to drown out the naysayers, we anxiously look forward to another year of printing and reading gorgeous, finite and permanent content.