The Future of Print Publications
By Liam Quinn
The online publishing business is replacing print publishing and jeopardizing it’s future because online publishing is more relevant in today’s society, an online publisher said last week.
The fact that fewer people are buying traditional publications, such as newspapers and magazines, signals that a greater change to the entire industry is looming.
“It became apparent in the early part of the millennium just how few young people were buying newspapers,” said Charles Happell, publisher of the Melbourne-based sports opinion website BackPageLead. “They received virtually all their information and entertainment via laptops, iPhones and iPads.”
“Online allows immediate, targeted access to consumers,” said Danny Bishop, Creative Director of IMG Sports Technology Group.
“Moving to online has allowed even small organizations to control information with virtually no time lag,” said Bishop. “The ability to deliver information unlimited by the availability of column inches or diluted by newsroom editors ensures the message is delivered exactly as intended.”
But professor Stephen Lacy, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the College of Communications, Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University, had a different opinion on the benefits of the increasing online platform.
“Research indicates that people who use mobile devices, whether downloading Web sites or using apps, spend more time looking at news,” commented Lacy.
Yet Lacy is not sure that traditional outlets are moving toward more modern techniques to share information.
“Newspapers and magazines are not necessarily moving away from traditional publishing,” said Lacy. “They are adding new ways of distributing news.”
However, will the need to – as Lacy put it – “deliver the news people want in the way the want it,” lead to the demise of traditional forms of publication?
“I hope not,” said Happell. “I can’t foresee a day when newspapers and books won’t exist in something like the form we know it. People love the feel of books and newspapers and magazines in their hands. That tactile element remains important.”
However, contrary to Happell’s opinion, it would appear that some students certainly seem to think that online publishing is the future.
“I can’t remember the last time I bought a newspaper,” said Nick Searles, a journalism student at Michigan State University. “It’s just so much easier to get news online now. With the speed that news can travel, newspapers are practically old news by the time they’ve been published.”
Karl Gude, a journalism professor at Michigan State, shared Searles’ bleak outlook for the newspaper.
“Anything I want to know I can find online,” said Gude. “Very little I need to know is in a newspaper that was printed eighteen hours ago. It’s just a model that can’t be sustained.”
“It was great for centuries, but it’s just not great anymore,” said Gude.