Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The problem with print


Before cable TV, before the advent of the 24-hour news cycle, before the Internet, before society cracked up and then splintered into ever-smaller demographics, time marched on at a more leisurely pace.

Instant was for coffee, oatmeal and Polaroid pictures. We still had attention spans exceeding that of a fruit fly.


Look . . . Dec. 17, 1963

THERE WAS
a prominent place in the media world for excellent general-interest magazines like
Life and Look.

Imagine a world where, for example,
Time and People could coexist inside the same cover. That would have been Look.

Sort of.


Then came Nov. 22, 1963, and the world lost even more of its innocence . . . and its patience.

SUDDENLY, a couple of weeks could be a lifetime -- worlds could change. Presidents could be murdered. Eras could end.

Magazines like
Look, with their long lead times between deadline and hitting the magazine rack, could look tragically out of it tragically quickly. As do newspapers in 2008, when the Web renders them yesterday's news before today's edition hits your driveway.

The handwriting appeared on the wall long ago . . . the second the Internet could deliver the depth of print at the speed of TV. And at the right price, too.

Free.

It's not like the world is slowing down or anything.

I guess John F. Kennedy did lose after all. In many ways, so did we all.

I miss magazines like Look.

I'll miss the Daily Blab, too.

2 comments:

Colleen said...

They're dropping like flies...I get an email newsletter each day that I can't bear to open, it's the doom report every day. I work in magazines! Not good. (Also work on internets. Good, but not quite as good as magazines, you dig.)

corn blight said...

I was published in the computer industry for 18 years until the Internet took out the magazines, etc. They all died because geeks like me no longer had to get a magazine to tell them what was happening, we could just hit web sites, and forums, and then blogs.

This happened to my industry at least six, maybe eight years ago. What the hell have the newspapers and other print publications been doing in the meantime? Hiding their heads? Or did they think that geeks were somehow irrelevant to their business?

Fools.

Look, there's a train coming, one that ran over others years ago.