Before the internet, the television set and the radio, the printed press revolutionised the way news was distributed. Today, many think that its job is done and dusted, but are they right?
The printed press is one of humanity’s greatest achievements, not only because it turned idle gossip and mouth-to-mouth information into a business, but also because it made news more accessible, easily attainable and evenly distributed.
Throughout the ages, the printed press has been there to give first-hand information about events and people on the other side of the globe, to report on happenings taking place in the country, and even to hold to account those in power.
Yet today, with news sites and Twitter being updated in real time, the importance of the printed press is seemingly diminished. But what many don’t understand is that the printed press also plays other various roles.
Newspapers – Very few people buy the newspaper to find out what’s happened, because most are now immediately in the know. People buy the newspaper because they want to know more about what happened. In-depth reports, which would be scrolled through online, are read intently on a newspaper, and the reason for this is quite simple. The virtual world is a fast one, and we’re constantly bombarded with something new, but sitting down with a newspaper means dedicating time to learning more.
News Magazines – Different news magazines cater for different types of people, and the information on them is both relevant and important. Knowing what’s happening in Syria is something that you can look up on Wikipedia. Knowing why is something that requires analyses, interviews and research by dedicated journalists. These cost a lot of money to be put together, and the revenue from advertising and magazine sales help fund them. Also, who would read a 10,000-word article about the current situation in Syria online? It would simply be too much. On a magazine, however? It’s an intellectual’s ultimate treat.
Fashion & Gossip Magazines – With most major fashion and gossip magazines being super active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their websites, it would seem that there isn’t much space for them in the real world. But both fashion and gossip magazines are big businesses, making millions in revenue from advertising and advertorials, and spending millions on shoots, research, design, and on placing the next big designer, model, photographer or celebrity out there. They have become a part of our Sunday morning ritual – breakfast and Vogue; omelettes and Elle; tea and Hello! Moreover, computers, iPads and Kindles have tried re-creating that intimate feeling of flicking through the magazine, but until they are able to give us the tactile and olfactory part of the experience, they simply won’t manage.
In other words, the printing press is still relevant because it caters for the human being inside of us. It dishes out data in a particular order and doesn’t overwhelm us with too much information about too many different things. It allows us to take time out of our busy schedules and learn more or discover something new, or even be transported into a world we would normally never make it to. And how marvellous is that?
Do you agree with James? Do newspapers and magazines still have a role in our modern society?
Do you prefer print or web magazines?
Let us know in the comments section below!