Sunday, February 26, 2012

Now, a word from the other side

As long-time readers know, I really like print publications and believe they have a future. I'll give you some reasons why, but first here's the other side: Jordan Kurzweil at says "It’s been said before, but it needs saying again (and again and again): PRINT IS DEAD."

Kurzweil, CEO of a digital company, makes a good argument for why print has no future and that media companies should clear the decks for a digital future if they have any hopes of having a future.

My quibble is that he's ignoring media history, which shows that media has adapted tremendously over the years and few forms of media actually die. Most evolve. (Remember radio was going to kill newspapers, television was going to kill radio -- and certainly kill newspapers; none of that happened.) The point is that media evolves rather than dies.

As I look across the room to a iPad and type on a laptop while watching the Wisconsin-Ohio State basketball game on television, I certainly appreciate digital media, especially well-designed web sites. But I keep seeing people reading and buying print products, and I can't imagine some of them -- think National Geographic magazine -- losing a print presence.

And, in fact, some of his arguments try to argue both points. After making an argument that people want digital rather than print, he then says that Patch "can't seem to find readers or revenue," and, after making are argument that content and technology are equal, he states that content is the "most cherished" asset. Sorry but one can't have it both ways.

Still, Kurzweil has some good points. Print media has been poorly managed, although I think it's getting better lately. Younger audiences skew digital; most old media web platforms are awful; and, of course, that print revenues are declining.

Read his article. It's thought-provoking.

No comments: