Is Print Dead?

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If print were a living being, she would be fed up with everyone questioning her future. She would post a killer selfie with the hashtag #stillgoingstrong and would tell us that she is alive and well.

It is no secret that newspapers and magazines around the world have shut down while others have reduced their print run. Everyone placed a bet on online news, but some scholars are wondering whether that was the best decision.

First of all, let’s make it clear that people still like printed books and magazines, even us technology-loving Millennials.

I’ve found myself caressing the paper of the book I am reading, inhaling the “new book” smell right off the inked pages. Maybe I am weird. Maybe there is a market for aromatized Kindles, but there is something about print that I do not get online: tangibility, ownership, a sense of durability (when compared to ever-changing websites). My dad got me magazine subscriptions for Christmas and I don’t think I have been as excited over a piece of mail since I got my college acceptance letter. Actually, I got an email about my college acceptance, so never mind.

The reading experience on print is also incomparable. Nothing like sitting on a couch and reading without interruptions – no annoying pop-up ads, no email or social media updates every five minutes. Just you and your book.

If we like printed books, magazines, and newspapers, why are so many publishing companies facing a rough time? Part of the problem is that advertising dollars have shifted to online outlets. Some advertisers do great; they can customize their ads to very specific age and geographical groups. However, Michael Rosenwald, a reporter at the Washington post presents some valid points (link to his article at the bottom). Rosenwald explains that there are limited spaces for ads on print magazines and newspapers, but that limit is almost non-existent online. The result? A colossal amount of ads that oblige media outlets to produce a colossal amount of content to keep an acceptable ratio between content and advertisements.

In the end, more importance is being placed on the quantity of content and not on its quality. Who is staying informed by reading sloppy articles? Who is skimming readings? We are.

For advertisers out there, I will tell you that pop-up ads are the worst. After one or two, I am closing that site and going somewhere else. The ads on magazines? I am not precisely framing them, but if I pay $20 for a Darling magazine, I am keeping it for a while. Let me assure you, your ad will be on my coffee table for a few years.

Full disclosure, I just became the editor in chief of Stephens Life, a print award-winning collegiate magazine. I have fallen in love with print. But I am not the only one. Students that participate in Stephens Life want to see their stories and photos in print. We have a blog too, but anyone can publish a story online nowadays. The democratization of online publishing has crushed its exclusivity. We feel accomplished when we give our magazines to our families and prospective employers. I know that we make a lot of grandmas proud. We also get internships and job opportunities.

Print might not go back to what it used to be, but there is a niche market interested in it. Like vinyl, Polaroid’s and 90s fashion, print is making a comeback. Are you ready for it?
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Copy: Aurola Wedman IG: aurola.wedman  

Photography: William Viquez  IG:willviquez

Dress: Proenza Schouler

Bracelet: Georgina Herrera for MCK

Location: Stephens College

Article by Michael Rosenwald