Print is the New 'New Media'

"A perspective-altering piece is worth more for 10,000 in print than as a brief distraction for 100,000 online." – Mark Oppenheimer, editor at large for Tablet and writer for The New York Times.

Dec. 9, 2015 - PRINT IS BEAUTIFUL. It can't notify you when a work email arrives, can't be tweeted mid-sentence, and won't die without a charger. Even better, it's finite.

It's also supposed to be dead. For years, the new media vanguard has preached “digital first” and the death knell has sounded again and again for print, as legendary magazines moved online or ceased publication altogether. Now, 20 years into the digital revolution, print is making something of a comeback. Tablet, Politico, and The Pitchfork Review are among the successful digital publications that have ventured into print. Nautilus, Kinfolk, and California Sunday Magazine have launched in print in the last few years, and their audiences are passionate and growing.

Tablet, a digital magazine for curious Jews (and their friends) that has been around since 2009, issued its first print edition in November. Editor in chief Alana Newhouse says certain stories, including fiction and “deeper” news and culture pieces, work better on paper. “I don't think the internet metabolizes certain kinds of stories properly,” she says.

Tablet's print edition is substantial, in size and quality: The pages are artful, the text is generously spaced. The first issue contains three hefty features, including a story on a Japanese manga-style comic about Anne Frank, plus a photography spread, a work of fiction, and a meditation on a Saltine. Tablet's website receives around 1.5 million readers a month, and the first edition had a print run of 15,000.

“Some of our best content deserves to be on the newsstand or on someone's coffee table for a while,” says Mark Oppenheimer, Tablet's editor at large. You can reach more people online, he says, but at what cost? He points to a feature in the magazine by Brett Ratner about the role of Miami Beach Jews in the birth of “modern American cool” after World War II, introduced by a memorable full-color double-page photo of beachgoers. “A perspective-altering piece is worth more for 10,000 in print than as a brief distraction for 100,000 online,” says Oppenheimer.

Go to the full article at the Columbia Journalism Review: www.cjr.org/business_of_news/back_in_print.php.

SOURCE: Columbia Journalism Review (author: Chava Gourarie)