Filed under: Corporate Social (Media) Responsibility | Tags: Alvina Antonio, new social media, OrCom, Organizational Communication, print, print media, the economist, twitter, UP Manila
Print is not dead.
Saying that print is dead is like telling me the government has collapsed, that we have no more need for leadership. While the Philippines’ government certainly isn’t flawless, it continues to function to (hopefully) provide laws, services, and order for the citizens’ welfare. Even now, countries with bad governments are in a state of disarray—and life can get worse without any form of governance.
Print must be dying
Many traditional print media options can be found online; perhaps, there is little need to support print media. Let’s use a nerdy (and pretentious) example: The Economist.
More often than not, I don’t get to read The Economist’s print edition. Since I source my copy from the UPM Debate Circle’s subscription, there’s often competition as to who gets this week’s edition. I log-in to The Economist online, instead. The online version contains not only the same print articles, but also content that amplifies the subscriber experience.
First, I have the power to comment on articles, and engage other readers across the globe. I can see differing viewpoints that adds depth to the articles I’ve just read. Second, if I don’t want to read online, I can either watch the video version or listen to the audio edition. This means mobility similar to the print edition, should I want to place the video and/or audio content in my portable media player. Third, The Economist archives its print copies online, so it’s easy for me to retrieve older articles without looking all over the place for the print version. Fourth, plenty of research tools are available in The Economist—from country briefings, special reports, to economic terms explained—that makes it a good site for loading up on world information. Really, the web version of The Economist is so packed that if I list all its merits, I’d be fully straying away from my entry’s theme.
If I want, I can also search the #economist hashtag on Twitter, and find opinions about the latest article on the US Climate-Change Bill. I can engage Twitter users about the topic, too. Intellectual conversations and new information can be derived from a series of 140-character tweets.
Taking only what’s necessary
But truthfully, I prefer the print copy of The Economist; browsing through the articles I’d want to read is easier compared to the online version (even with my broadband connection). I have the liberty of slowly digesting information on world politics and economics without hurting my eyes from the LCD monitor’s 20000:1 contrast ratio (read: that means the screen is bright—very bright, even when you turn it down). Also, the print version is easier to bring anywhere. I would know—I have a netbook that weighs only 920 grams, but that’s still infinitely heavier than a thin magazine.
All the perks offered by The Economist online are just that: bonuses that you may not exactly need all the time. I’m grateful for country briefings, but I only ever read them when I’m panicking before a debate tournament. A page on economic terms explained makes for a good reference, but I hardly need to access the page.
Further, the use of social media to increase my knowledge happens only when I’m: 1) feeling extra-studious; and 2) sociable enough to engage strangers online. Those two don’t happen very often. Most of the time, The Economist is already loaded with so much information that I have yet to read a copy from cover-to-cover.
Here to stay
Print media remains close to my nerdy heart. Admittedly, my dependence on print media has been reduced significantly; it’s too easy to be blinded by the possibilities offered online. This is not to discredit the wonders of online media, though. I am a sucker for many forms of social media, but I won’t write about that now. Rather, I am defending that print media, with its content and convenience, remains adequate for my reading requirements.
Of course, you can always bash my entry and tell me that I only used one limiting example for print media’s adequacy. Please remember, though, dear reader, that not everyone has access to the awesome creation that is the Internet. Even ensuring computer access for everyone is currently a work in progress. Maybe, when everyone in the world has fully migrated to online media, we can let print media rest in peace.
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