The written word: on paper or your digital appliance? Can print and digital media exist side-by-side and support one another? Or are they mutually exclusive? I come from a newspaper background, and with the advance of the Internet, I would have to admit that print media is suffering an advertising and circulation slow-down as more people tune into their tabs and TVs for instant updates on the world around them. But even with some of the world’s most prestigious newspapers changing hands, I would still shy away from saying that print media is dying bit by byte, as most would have you believe.
It’s true that nowadays we are exposed a lot more to digital media and thanks to television and increasingly our cell phones, we get up-to-date news on the go. And this is good news for ad and marketing gurus because the digital platform is much cheaper than print media, campaigns can be updated, launched and go ‘viral’ and reach an audience of millions in a matter of seconds.
You just can’t, however, write off print media. It’s a more tangible medium and even if the news can’t be updated to the nano-second, a newspaper can break down the news in a more analytical way than and digital site can. Where marketing and advertising is concerned, advertisements on a hoardings, posters, banners or flyers create a direct line of interaction between seller and target buying audience. And, when you meet someone for business purposes, it’s so much better to be able to hand out a business card with all your details rather than telling them that you can be reached by Facebook or Twitter! Just as many newspapers have on-line avatars, digital media must realize that it can’t really do without its print counterpart. We know about news, shopping and other websites because we have read articles and seen adverts of them in newspapers and magazines.
So, both digital and print media have its advantages, and in this day of the super-information highway the best the both can do is to learn to live with each other. Forging a working relationship is the way forward. But for me, aesthetically speaking, there is a certain sense of luxury and permanence about the written word – be it a book, magazine or newspaper – that you cannot get from a computer screen. And your book will survive a power surge. A book in hand is worth two on a computer chip, I always say!