The discussion about the “Death of Print Media” has gone on for god knows how long, and even thought three years ago everyone was sure print would be dead sooner or later, it has somehow managed to keep afloat. When I first started working at L’Officiel, I went to Paris to visit the famed Jalou publishing house, it was important for me to get to know to my French colleagues, and perhaps hear something that would bring some insight into my job. When asked about the possible demise of his magazine, Patrick Cabasse, the deputy director of the fashion division gave me an intriguing answer “Print news will probably cease to exist- it’s losing its fight against digital media too quickly. Glossy magazines however, won’t be following in its footsteps. Every mag is like a book for your coffee table. You lay down a huge and heavy manual on your stand, begin your morning ritual with it, read through it, drink your coffee. Then you leave for work, and when you get back home, you check up on the magazine again right before going to sleep, while sipping on some tea. A monthly issue that’s filled with content could keep you occupied for weeks. Also photoshoots, they’re just so much better on gloss, than they are on small smartphone screens.”
The way he said “Coffee table book” really stuck in my head, and I use it shamelessly when the question about the livelihood of print comes up. So no, I honestly think that the classic glossy mag will survive. Let’s talk about the pros and cons. It’s hard to give an objective answer since I’m very much digitally inclined, I don’t buy and don’t read print press, because I don’t see anything it brings to the table that really gives it an edge over digital news. There are some people among my friends that see it as important, to hold printed news at their fingertips, smell the fresh scent of the typographic paint, turn pages. I have a jittery, quick and sometimes edgy personality. I like to skim through the news feed, save the long reads that interest me, and come back to them when I have the time. I’m not a visual person, but that’s the best way to deal with visual content- I see a site layout I like, a collage, or a good looking photoshoot that’s done in an unorthodox technique, I just make a screenshot and send it to the person I want to share it with.
There is only one con to the digital media side which I dislike, people really tend to not read long texts. I see it on our website, I irritably notice myself not having the courage to scroll down and finish informative and witty reads as well. Push Notifications are coming out of everywhere, messages from texting apps, social media notifications are clogging everything and can be so distracting when you’re trying to focus on reading something that isn’t 140 words long. Even attentive and collected people can’t keep their center of attention, and I surely can’t compete with them in that department. Unfortunately, this downside to digital media isn’t really compensated in printed press. You’re still going to get spammed by notifications from the virtual world while you’re reading an in-depth article in the New Yorker. And the vibrating phone or tablet that you silenced just for this occasion will still be bothering you, just as much as before. This is all connected to the major excess of information in our modern world, and we’re probably just going to have to deal with it.