I lose patience with pundits who prophesy and lobby for the demise of all traditional media in favor of newer forms

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The things we create in print and in digital are so completely different from each other that they appeal to fundamentally distinct needs.The war between old and new is a false construct. Nothing goes away. The human need to create is too great, and the human desire to be entertained is too intense to allow any form, whether books or oil painting or even blogging, to disappear.

via Words of Wisdom from Esquire’s David Granger « Mr. Magazine.

There Are 8 Comments On This Article.

  1. Not only do I agree that print and digital media are not at war with each other, But I also see the two mediums, when applied properly, as complimentary. The economics of web-based publication are so appealing that we know it will grow, but that growth will be impaired by the ease with which a message gets lost in the glut of information online. We know that traffic has to be driven to a website, and I see print as the best way to do that. The poster effect of a good print application is a proven way to get someone’s attention. The tactile nature of print is more welcoming than the glare of the screen. The screen on the other hand is the best way to deliver expository information because of the amount of detail and layering of same that can be done so economically.

    I do believe that the end result of the above relationship will be that more high quality (mostly promotional) print applications will emerge over the next decade, and many of them will be aimed at driving the viewer to a website for more information.

    A good example was in my mail yesterday. It was a 6 x 9 postcard announcing an outdoor sculpture exhibit. Well designed with an appealing photograph, the copy consisted of two well crafted sentences and suggestion that more information be obtained from a website.. I like sculpture so I ended up at the website, and I will go to the exhibit.

    A key factor is that “I like sculpture”. Somehow the sender knew that. If the message had been about a horse show, I would not have traveled to the URL. So a key here is getting to the right niche.

  2. S. Semnacher

    I couldn’t agree more. Here at Workbook our clients continue to tell us that when the new edition comes out each year there is a surge at their
    personal websites and their portfolios at the Workbook site. This is one of the reasons we have decided to do two issues a year instead of one.

    There is also a perceived value to the print promotion; it is generally more time consuming and expensive to produce and the recipient inherently knows this. Careless mistakes are costly in the print world,
    so there is more care involved. The rising cost of postage dictates that the list of recipients be properly qualified to receive it for maximum benefit. We continue to support and promote our Workbook package , which includes printed ads, our blog and online galleries working together.

  3. Good point A Photo Editor!

    It all comes down to this: Have a social function and you will generate value.

    Invent something that improves the quality of life of others and you will generate value if you cost manage effectively. This is what so called new media has done better than old media. It does not have to be just about financial value. Intangibles have social value too.

    It is really that simple. Where do we go for information? The Web. Where do we go for entertainment? Increasingly the web. Why? Because it is cheaper for us to access and it delivers more variety.

    What the new media did is make much more efficient the infinite spaces of the virtual world more manageable and therefore give themselves a social function. Amazon, eBay, Google, Yahoo, My Space Facebook and Youtube.

    Great for online but look at the cost. iPad is the future? Not at the price point. Is it part of the future but on a train, I still prefer magazines and books on long journeys because they are cheap, low maintenance and disposable.

    Simply put, the social function of new media is the same as media has always been. It has just leveraged new technologies to make it cheaper so more people can access it at a cheaper price point. But accessibility for the public will still mean there is a valid place for “old” media.

    It will a long long time until screens are cheap enough to put on all billboards in the US so long live the still photograph!

    Print removes the distraction of being immersed through all your senses in the new multimedia world so the centrality of the still image will here where there is a social benefit – both tangible in terms of cost and intangible because people like printed stuff too. I love it because it is tactile and has texture.

    The trick is surely to leverage off both!

    • @iamnotasuperstarphot,

      I understand your position and in the short run I agree with it, but as time moves on I do not. Yes, the iPad costs more than a magazine, but less than 100 magazines. No, WiFi is not on trains, yet, but it will be. If not WiFi it will be 4G data service, then 5G, etc. Expository information is most economically and therefore most profitably distributed digitally.

  4. I agree with his statement that traditional forms of expression are going to continue, and the establishment itself will prosper, but will they continue to prosper sufficiently for me to earn a living from them? I’d argue that’s the relevant point. He’s right to strike out against pessimism, but there aren’t so many professional oil painters getting commissions these days. The worry remains about what my position will be as the flow of revenue changes.

    Take the example of Photo journalists. There are many young photo journalists who are adding social value with their work, but when it comes to earning money in the years it takes to get established, ask them how newer media forms are paying their bills…

    • johnwiththelens

      @A Nettleship

      That there are many young photo journalists is indisputable. That they are all adding social value with their work is debatable.

      I love the idea of ‘Have social value and you will generate value’. It’s not always going to happen, but it will happen more for photographers if they use that mantra and REALLY MEAN IT, rather than heading to shoot the cliched money shots.

      Are there any pictures of Afghanistan we haven’t seen already? Of course. Will many photographers capture one? Undoubtedly the answer is no.

      All media needs new content, regardless of whether or not it’s print or digi.

    • iamnotasupertarphoto

      @A Nettleship,

      “but there aren’t so many professional oil painters getting commissions these days.”

      I would hate for photojournalists to put in the bracket of oil painters, human cart pullers, hunter/gatherers, beds warmers with pans, sickle harvesters, handwriters, typewriters, lamplighters, pony express riders, telegraph operators, switchboard operators, pigeon carriers, people to hand pick cotton, shoe makers, paddle boat operators, candle lighters, wagon makers and wagon wheel repair men, Newspaper print setters… are either redundant or just a leisure activity. (Forgive me for the satire)

      Photojournalists sometimes take the power of their own work for granted using the beauty of composition over the strength of the journalism.

      Photography and journalism is more accessible than ever with new technology and I would argue that journalism is more socially valuable than visual beauty.

      Photojournalists have the power to do both – an amazing feat rarely achieved but worth the struggle!