The power of print


Recently in the Boston Globe, I read that Gannett plans to fold or merge two-dozen print papers in Eastern Massachusetts in shift to a more digital, and regional, coverage of local news.

When I read this I immediately recalled the experiences I had with the TAB back when I lived in Boston. Reading it on the T, in bars, cafe’s, on the beach, seeing what band was playing at the Tam, what was on sale at Bread and Circus, and whatnot. I got all my information on those pages, as well as from flyers on lamposts and bulletin boards around Coolidge Corner. The feeling is pure melancholia. I can tell you where I was… what the weather was… where I might have been headed.

I’m not sure I’d feel the same melancholy if the digital edition was shut. Would I remember that I read the TAB on my favorite tablet, or phone? Would I remember where I read it? Probably not.

Call it melancholy, or call it savvy analysis, but paper still has a place in our world. Direct mail response is up (at least the packages I create ;-) ), email response is down. Digital is fickle, direct mail is consistently reliable.

I can recall thumbing through the yellow pages, and turning the pages of a newspaper. The experience is different than clicking and swiping. Reading words on paper was immersive, while digital was active harvesting. I find when I want to learn something, I turn to paper. I’ve tried reading books on my tablet, it’s more difficult. Maybe if I had been raised with digital, I wouldn’t be as preferential, but I grew up reading comic books… Superman, Batman, Archie. As well as newspapers, text books, singing from hymnals, and reading magazines like Grit, Boys Life, Mad Magazine. So is that melancholia, or the physiological act of viewing, holding and turning paper pages? Is there a connective difference from the digital version of viewing, clicking, swiping the pages? But don’t get me stahhtid!!!

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Dwight IngramCreative Director  |  IngramCS