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Thoughts in Prose: The Print Apocalypse

December 16, 2009

It’s been reported that more than 500 consumer magazines folded by the end of 2008; luckily, this year’s number are only in the double digits.

We are witnessing the most groundbreaking technological convergence since the movable type in the Industrial Revolution. At different intervals throughout history, newspapers, magazines, radio and television were all new media threatening its predecessor’s existence. Today, the aforementioned coexist to personalize our news and leisure.

So why are we predicting the end of magazines?

The swift drop in advertising dollars in addition to the potential and actual success of the Internet are contributing factors.

Our lives and the Internet are interwoven making it possible to listen to the radio, watch TV, read newspapers and magazines online.  The Internet is a convenient medium for our lifestyles but it does not replace the others.

Admitting that there are at least 100 blogs and digital publications to every print magazine, bloggers are becoming just as important as the editors thanks to their 24-hour access to exclusives.

Remember when you didn’t know who would be on the magazine’s cover until you got your copy?  Now, it hits the blogosphere in seconds, making it outdated by the time the magazine goes to print.

For a magazine to coexist with the Internet, it must remember the basics of Darwinism: Survival of the fittest.

No more lackadaisical journalism and uninspiring web sites will do. A magazine’s web presence should be supplemental to its print edition, offering current information as it relates to its demographic.

If your magazine is not a blog, don’t become a blog. Embrace the blog-like qualities (daily posts, online shopping specials, etc.) and continue to produce what we know and love you for in your print edition.

Vibe magazine is the perfect example of this convergence. Though the magazine folded in June, its swift purchase and relaunch resulted in a stronger web presence and print publication that hit newsstands this past Monday.

Magazines have survived the past 150 years through modernization, so to say that there is no longer a need for print publications is downright foolish. There’s room for all media to thrive – just bring your A game.

I love my blogroll and online magazines but nothing can match the feeling of running my fingers through the glossy pages of Elle and ripping out pages for my inspiration board.

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