On Oct. 18, Newsweek’s editor Tina Brown announced that the iconic magazine would be in our hands for the last time this winter. Dec. 31 will mark its final print edition, and goodbyes are never easy.
“Exiting print is an extremely difficult moment for all of us who love the romance of print and the unique weekly camaraderie of those hectic hours before the close on Friday night,” Brown said. “But as we head for the 80th anniversary of Newsweek next year, we must sustain the journalism that gives the magazine its purpose and embrace the all-digital future.”
The nation has seen an incline in tablet and e-reader use, so the transition from print to digital is a natural one. According to Forbes.com, total shipments of tablet computers to enterprises around the world are expected to rise from 13.6 million to 96.3 million over the next five years.
Almost every publication on the market has a corresponding digital version for convenience, immediacy and accessibility. While popular news sources like The New York Times and Time Magazine maintain both print and digital, many have followed the same path as Newsweek by shutting down print entirely.
According to The Epoch Times, The Cincinnati Post ceased printing in 2007 and U.S. News & World Report did the same in 2010. Even the once best-selling newspaper in the world, UK’s News of the World, shut its doors to print in 2011.
The changes in journalism are anything but shocking. The world of news has a responsibility to reach readers in a format that is effective and timely. It is a welcome progression that will surely evolve again and again.
But for a few hundred years, print news was that symbol of progression. It will forever be the foundation of the digital world. Something easily forgotten when staring down at a beautiful, glossy, high definition, high-speed iPad… until the battery dies and I’m like, “Alright, where’s the paper version at?”
What I’ll miss about print:
Digital versions are just not the same
This has been a topic of discussion for as long as digital news has been around. Without pages to turn, ink to smear and that hot-off-the-press smell that exists for only one blissful moment, it’s just not the same. There is something about holding the news in your hands, knowing there’s a beginning and an end. The pages aren’t illuminated, but the words appear crisp. The images are still and the ads don’t blink. We stumble upon stories that were never trending on Twitter or searched for on Google, and they satisfy our thirst for news by virtue of being new.
No Wi-Fi, no problem
We often applaud digital media for being convenient, above all else. Traveling somewhere? The iPad will be your perfect companion. Many airports are equipped with charging stations that will happily refuel your everything-in-one gadget for free. But you better come prepared with all of your favorite magazines and newspapers pre-downloaded because Wi-Fi isn’t always readily available. Print is trusty and reliable, anywhere and everywhere. The cherry on top? Magazines don’t die, so you won’t have to join the herd of Mac addicts vying for a spot at the charging station before boarding call.
No Facebook in print land
Social media has a way of sidetracking us mid-story, and often times I find myself re-tweeting before I even finish reading. I click my own link to read it again, while my friends are busy “liking” it. Why do they like it? I wouldn’t know because the final paragraph was inches away from a blinking ad that was begging to be clicked. Two hours later, I’m on Pinterest and wondering how I got there. Lucky for me, there’s none of this in print land. If I wanted to share the story, I’d have to rip out the pages and tape them to my roommates door. Who would go to all of that work without reading the entire article?
Print is more than printed words
If ever there was a day with nothing new to report, I’m convinced that the rituals surrounding print would still be enough. Reading the paper is as much about the act of doing it as it is about the news itself. To wake up early and walk into the kitchen where coffee waits to be made and the paper waits to be read is an American rite of passage. Stacking the latest issue of Newsweek is on the coffee table is a satisfying habit, down to the very last edition.
Despite everything I will miss about holding the news in my hands, at the end of the day journalism is about content. The production of print may cease but the romance is timeless. Our love for it was first and foremost, about the stories and those will never cease. So we’ll move into the digital world with a happy turn, or should I say click, of the page.
Carly Samuelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.