Sometimes, I wonder if I will have a job in the next five years. That is a thought more frightening than the most terrifying haunted house around. As a journalism student, there is a constant nagging, ever-present question. Is print dying? Will my craft ever cease to exist, becoming another tombstone in one of the many decorated graveyards that spring up around this time every year? The obvious answer for those tech-savvy, electronic-embracing enthusiasts is yes. Print is dying a slow, painful death, and writers and journalists alike have to watch as their trade takes its last breath. But what if they’re wrong? I won’t go as far to say print is making a victorious comeback, but I will say this form of media is seeing a metamorphosis, if you will.
Naturally, questions about the next generation’s youth being so technologically inclined seem to be a common talking point when this touchy subject is approached, but I’m doubtful this argument has validity. Recent studies have found 62 percent of young readers ranging from 16 to 24 years old prefer printed books to electronic reading devices. Reasons for favoring these products varied from wanting to hold the physical product to selling it after use.
However, one apparent argument remains. Newspaper production has decreased, and the e-reader and tablet-based market has skyrocketed. Let’s face it: daily newspapers can’t compete with the speed and availability of the Internet. That’s true, and I acknowledge that. Though on the other hand, it is absurd to say that print is already dead, or will die, in the next 20 years. Here’s why.
There is something about printed material that makes it seem more official, reliable and true. In printed works, I never have to be wary of the distracting pop-up ads or worry about the imminent danger of a lurking computer virus. Forbes magazine addresses this issue saying, “Consumers are more engaged when reading printed material, unlike websites, which are often skimmed in as little as a 15 second visit.” I simply relax and read the words as they develop into a story. Reading a physical, paper book gives readers a more emotional attachment. The stories become tangible and genuine when the printed words spring off the paper, capturing the attention of anyone patient enough to read a page that’s not electronic.
Yes, print is changing, and yes, printed works have decreased in number. But by no means is print media a dying art. Print is not dead.