It’s 2019, we need to stop pitting print and digital media against each other.
Is print dead? You can't be the first person to ask this. I have been hearing this age-old question come up as often as “what’s your star sign?” in a conversation. Let’s set the record straight: print is not dead and digital media isn’t killing it either. It’s quite the opposite. Digital media has helped print evolve. The only mystery that remains is the way we can maximize this opportunity.
While it’s true that the digital age has taken over with smartphones being made available for everyone and internet connection reaching farther and wider in the scale of the map, it’s important to understand that its existence can’t mark the end of print media. It has, in fact, been helping print thrive in this new age of media consumption and information.
A Symbiotic Relationship
In this house, we are not anti-technology. We all have social media accounts, subscribed to a bunch of newsletters that pile up in our inboxes, shop and experience products with a single tap. It’s safe to say that technology has been a friend to us for the most part. That fact doesn’t have to change in this conversation about the life and “death” of print media. “I don’t think that people should compare it often or pit it against each other because it’s complementary,” MEGA Magazine editor-in-chief Peewee Reyes-Isidro says. It’s easier to see once you’re told about it. It’s not a black and white situation where obtaining information through your smartphone leads you to drop all physical books, magazines, and newspapers that ever comes your way.
Think Amazon—a retail giant that knows exactly how to sell both physical and digital versions of books. While it’s easy to tell that they’re just catering to two different types of readers, it should also be taken to consideration that their “Look Inside” feature is what sells the books. Translating it to magazines, a lot of printed magazines’ content can also be found on their website. The mindset that no one will buy your magazine because its content has already been posted online should be set aside. Good content sells whether it’s in the world wide web or not.
MEGA Associate Editor Angelo Ramirez de Cartagena calls it a “symbiotic relationship”. If done right, according to Angelo, digital media can help print promote itself in uncharted territory. For instance, we’re looking at the latest from Paris Fashion Week in different fashion websites but an intensive review of what will work for which season or the design philosophy of the atelier can be found in the pages of a magazine.
Print-to-digital migration is still a learning process for a lot of publications even to this day. But it’s not an impossible feat to achieve. It is simply learned one step at a time and marrying these disciplines together can render great results for both.
There’s a stark difference on the way print and digital media content are created. The discipline that sets print apart from digital is not necessarily exclusive to the former and vice versa.
As a digital writer, everything we come up with must be fast and easily digested. Our features have deadlines in the hands of the reader. We must create something snappy and engaging that will allow our readers to stay more than a few seconds on the page. It’s an everyday challenge to come up with something that’s “now” while staying accurate.
“If there’s one thing that digital should learn from print, it would be the idea of perfection—that making sure what you say is closest to accurate as possible,” Suki Salvador, MEGA Creative Director says. “You should publish things that have been proofread, edited by somebody else, and fact-checked. [That’s the discipline] that a lot of people who create content forget now.”
The different disciplines at which both media work can be adapted by both parties. Angelo shares that the relationship between print and digital will be one “where the discipline and the precision of print are needed for the digital way in communicating in the same way the speed, the efficiency of digital media is what print needs.”
In 1992, when MEGA Magazine released its first issue, it instantly became the number one local source of fashion trends and gave readers exclusive access to the lives of people from around the industry. It has launched the careers of today’s storied designers, stylists, photographers, and more. Twenty-seven years later, it is still the premier source of everything fashion, beauty, and lifestyle, continuously supporting and helping local creatives to break into the industry. Yet, even as the last standing fashion print magazine, MEGA didn’t stop at reaching a specific audience with the printed copies.
With the birth of its first online counterpart MEGAStyle.PH, the magazine reached a wider audience, specifically different from the people that buy the magazine. Its younger target market gained access to the authoritative opinions that MEGA has in print. Today, it continues to serve its purpose—to promote and support the brand, keeping it relevant not only to the generation of magazine readers but also to the digital-first generation of today. All these can still be accessed on what we now know of as MEGA.onemega.com and MEGAStyle.onemega.com.
“Being able to experience and see both platforms, both have its advantages and both serve a role or a specific purpose,” Peewee shares. Faye Jessica Yoingco, MEGA’s Digital Content Strategist, also a non-hater of technology backs it up with her two cents on the functions of each platform. “When magazines first came out, they gave readers a snapshot of how people and societies are from different parts of the globe. It was a curated view of the world in a tangible format. Digital completely changed that and made the world flatter and easier to access.”
Fast forward to the present, MEGA’s print and digital platforms continue to serve their rightful purpose. Digital media gives a quick and accurate source of news and information. It gives the audience easier access to the brand’s point of view on specific issues. And in the sea of online information we’re left with every day, print becomes our filter, an authoritative point of view that has more weight than the quick, passing content that the internet provides.
So, Is Print Dead?
It is far from dead and like what Faye says, contrary to popular belief, “Digital isn’t the enemy here. It’s the reckless spewing of information.” No matter how well informed you are, in the ever-changing landscape of the internet, everyone is in danger of false information. How we’ll consume these media platforms and information is all up to us. “I really think it’s a matter of choice,” Suki adds. “The world has changed so much that’s it’s leaning more towards comfort. So whatever it is that you’re comfortable with in consuming media, that’s what you should choose.”
Even for the team that makes up a magazine like MEGA that has been through the many ups and downs of print publishing for the past 27 years, it’s easy to say that it isn’t dead and it won’t be going away anytime soon—probably not ever. “For as long as there’s a library, for as long as there’s a bookstore, print will be alive. For as long as we’re reading, print will be alive,” Angelo adds. The conversation about print vs. digital will remain and the fact that it’s being talked about says a lot. If anything, it’s us that “kills” these media. Twenty nineteen might be the year for us to put an end on giving a certain media platform an expiration date, declaring it “dead”. Media and content consumption will continue to evolve with time and technology. Print will never die, but it will keep on changing, moving, and adapting.