Yup, that is at times the question. Not in all, but in some. You see, I am rewatching Contagion, Steven Soderbergh did an awesome job and now with Covid, it is almost a documentary (nyuk, yuk, nyuk). Yet this is not about covid, it is about mortality rate. It is in the beginning of the movie when Jude Law gives us “Print media is dead, I’ll save you a seat on the bus”. It is that part that woke up something in me. Yes, print media is dead, or to some extent it should be. So as we look into that direction we see a few items. The first is that the quote comes from a 2011 movie, so there is one side. We see all kind of magazines being removed from the magazine stands and that reinforces the view, yet in opposition we see Forbes giving us less than a year ago ‘Stop Saying Print Journalism Is Dead. 60 Magazines Launched During This Crazy Year’ (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/andymeek/2021/12/30/stop-saying-print-journalism-is-dead-60-magazines-launched-during-this-crazy-year/ ), yes that is one view to have and it is a relevant one. We get “the saga of print journalism over the last several years has been one of decay and rot; layoffs; budget cuts; shrinkage. And it’s easy to see where the pandemic has made all that worse. A moribund economy means fewer advertisers are spending money, which dries up print revenue, which means cutbacks, circulation declines, fewer employees, a greater reliance on wire copy — you get the idea. Proclaim your love of newspapers all you want” and we get in addition to that “NBA star Stephen Curry’s wife Ayesha Curry launched a quarterly food, home and lifestyle magazine called Sweet July with help from the publishing giant Meredith”.
We need to consider two things, the first is that new magazines are started all over the world, they al think that they have the formula that advertisers will want and people will want to buy. That is not a bad thing, it merely is a something that happens. A year ago some might have seen ‘News Corp announces end of more than 100 Australian print newspapers in huge shift to digital’, this is as I see it a policy shift, it does not end the publication, it merely shifts it to the digital side. And that is what Forbes and others are afraid of, to be disregarded, so the 60 magazines sounds nice, but how many of them lasts beyond year 1? How many are left after years 2? In this it is not merely the buyer, it will be the advertisers, if they stay away, the publication ends and 60 minus 112 is still a negative number. In this I merely looked at one nation, when we add the New York Times we get ‘More Than 1 in 5 U.S. Papers Has Closed’ and that is almost two years ago. So in all this, the response from Forbes seems a little feeble and desperate.
So is the print media dead? I agree with people stating that it is dying, but dead? No, I do not believe that this is the case, yet I do believe that print media needs to change, how? Not sure, but the catering to everyone will not work, in this it is like gaming. If you make a game that is supposed to please everyone, you end up with a game that satisfies no one. I believe that print media is on that same setting. I also believe that it is the reason why niche magazines will outlast most others. It is also why the dip on local newspapers are missing to a much larger extent. The people like their local news, the national newspapers will often not cover it, and as such we see more and more newspapers disappear.
And when we take the pulse of something like this we also need to consider what the fallout will be on a much larger scale. You see if they do not, those who advertised in print will only have the digital wave, all whilst examining the population per magazine might reveal a few alternatives and here the local newspapers can pick up the slack to a much larger degree, they are in a good place, the niche in some cases is beneficial to a much larger community and I reckon that we will see a lot more of that in 2022-2023. To those who ignore the setting of “Print media is dead”, that is your right and I have nothing against that, but I do recommend you get a data coroner to see where you can get a benefit or two, because the early bird that hesitates, gets worms.