Print vs. Digital Publishing is a Moot Point

The future of publishing is magic paper, digital tabletops, and walls that project information. It is not magazines vs. websites

A guy that I work with, John Murphy, showed this video to me the other day while we were unwinding after work over a beer:

We had been talking about websites, digital publishing, and magazines. I gave him my standard line — “iPads make the discussion about print and digital moot, and pretty soon–when these iPads are flexible, and we can roll them up and stick them in our jacket pockets, like we do with magazines–the argument will be totally superfluous.”

John said “You’ve gotta check this video out by Corning Glass.”

More and more, the content we develop as editors, producers, and reporters can take whatever form it needs to tell the story. Until a few years ago, when iPads emerged, great layouts were reserved for print. Websites were shackled by clunky HTML.

But now, print IS digital. Our great challenge as editors, art directors, and publishers is to be ready when the technology (hardware) catches up to the distribution outlets (software).

I do not think it is about content types, as much as it is about content topics — things that audiences are interested in. I do not think that you can lump print into a single bucket. Comic books and the Wall Street Journal are both print, and they are both very different.

Saying that web users want video (or slide shows, or quick hits, or interactive graphics) is totally misguided, in my humble opinion.

I think that people want information that is useful, interesting, and important to them. If the information needs to be in the form of words, pictures, drawings, and video, than I pity the fool who talks about print vs. digital.

Because my magazine is kicking that guy’s butt.

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