As defined in Collins dictionary, “Print Media” refers to the industry that prints and distributes news through magazines and newspapers. I currently work for both my school’s newspaper and magazine, and it wasn’t until I started working for these publications that I truly began to appreciate print publications. The process of making them was really what captivated me. As such, it seems we are in the middle of a great migration between print publications to online publications. Both are still maintained, yet some assert: Print media is dead, or at the very least, dying.
Think about it, whether you’re a Millenial, Gen Z, or otherwise, when was the last time you bought a magazine? The last time you picked up a newspaper? Even I cannot confidently say print media is alive and well, and I work for two on-campus print publications. The engagement within the community is really the determining factor.
I interviewed Olivia Reid, the Managing Editor of UMass Boston’s student-led magazine, Writ Large, to hear her opinions on the issue. Olivia Reid is a junior and communications major, and she works as a photographer for multiple publications both on and off campus, including The Mass Media, Disrupted Magazine, 777 Collective, and 120 Decibel. The latter three publications are exclusively online, while The Mass Media and Writ Large have both print and online copies of their publication.
As a concert photographer, Olivia mostly focuses on finding news centering around local venues and upcoming artists. She expressed that it’s easier to find information on potential gigs through online publications rather than print publications. Olivia mentioned using social media as a tool in aiding her search for shows as well, listing Discord and Instagram specifically as resources for news on upcoming concerts.
Overall, Olivia does find more positives in affiliating with online publications as a photojournalist. “I feel, because I do concerts a lot, and it’s a lot of, like, people that are getting bigger when I do shows, it’s more looked at,” Olivia explained. “Especially (because) fan accounts see it, and then that spreads from fan accounts to followers to higher-ups who work for the tour or the venue or whatever. And because it’s online, we just make connections easier.”
When asked about the value in print publications, Olivia mentioned how print publications seem to get less attention. “I feel like it’s not as picked up, and we’re kind of shifting to a more online way of things. But it’s also a great way for literally any generation to pick up a paper,” Olivia said. “Older people will pick up things more often because they don’t use technology as much, so you’d get a wider audience, I’d say.”
Olivia seems to assert that a mix between print and digital publications is beneficial, at least for those who work for publications. Print publications offer accessibility for those who may not be well-versed in technology, so if you work for both, you have people who love technology and the people who condemn it reading your work.
“It’s also tangible, and I feel like people like to have something in their hands,” Olivia added. “(Disrupted Magazine) releases an issue in April, and my photo is the cover (of that issue), so I’m going to buy the physical copy now because of that…if the printed highlight people that (fans) follow, then they’re more opted to pick it up. For memorabilia. Cause like, I cut sh*t out; I love doing that! I love making collages. People love doing that.”
It’s not all bad for print media. Overall, virtual news does seem to provide more opportunities for the current generation than print media offers. However, that does not mean print publications will become obsolete. There are still faithful readers of print media, typically people who prefer to hold what they’re reading or those who simply dislike technology. Additionally, the possibilities that come with owning a tangible copy of your own work, or work from your idols, keeps print media in the younger generation’s minds. Print publications have a sort of sentimental value to them that virtual publications cannot carry. That quality seems to be print media’s driving force in holding their audience’s attention. Whether this will hold true forever, I cannot say. However, print media is not dead yet.