Can A Print Magazine Compete With Internet By Being Slower… But More Analytical?

from the depends-on-the-execution dept

The press is happily covering the news that some journalists are launching a new (paper) magazine called “Dispatches” by focusing on the supposed “contrarian” nature of the operation: it’s focused on print, rather than the internet (though it will have an internet presence), and it’s only going to publish once per quarter. The folks behind the magazine say they’re trying to slow things down a little, and will focus on providing better analysis than the rapidfire approach of internet reporting. That makes sense — but it’s hardly new. Plenty of other press outlets have done the same thing — and, realistically, the analyst business is based on this same premise (just with the idea that the content is paid for by companies receiving it rather than advertisers). Either way, even if the concept isn’t particularly new, at the very least it’s nice to see a magazine launch with a plan as to how to differentiate. That said, the differentiation is meaningless if it can’t execute well and get people interested in the sort of in-depth content it hopes to provide.

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Comments on “Can A Print Magazine Compete With Internet By Being Slower… But More Analytical?”

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jason (user link) says:

history repeating

There was an Italian lord in the early 1500s who absolutely refused to use the printing press because he thought it was a fad that would soon disappear. He only used monks to write everything.

Thank god he was right! Hopefully this internet thing will die soon. I can’t wait to get back to waiting a day or two (or even a week!) before I hear the latest news.

Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

no, just because it is printed on paper

dragged across the country and put into your mailbox does not make the analysis more useful.

Internet sites already do this, they supply more and better? analysis on subjects for a price, it is called a subscription model.

Subscription Model:
comes from when Internet content was written down on paper (subscribed) and physically delivered on a regular schedule (daily, weekly, etc.)

Luke says:

Sure it can.

If it can provide better analysis then i don’t see why it can’t compete. obviously print isn’t going to work for reporting the daily news anymore but in realms were time isn’t the most important thing then the quality of the analysis is what matters, and print can deliver quality analysis as well as the internet.

Provide a good product and people will read it, weather its on the net or in print.

Old Guy says:

All The Kiddies.....

….have chimed in that paper can’t possibly be as good as digital. Problem is that, when print media had ethics, things were “fact-checked” and were reliable news sources. Few print or internet news outlets do that now, instead, relying on the veracity of the source or just promoting the publisher’s agenda.

The under 30 crowd doesn’t read papers, but there are still many over 30s that do. The NY Times, Boston Globe, LA Times USA Today and other dailies still print and still sell, albeit at a much lower level. There would certainly be a place for a news source that provides analysis, as long as it’s balanced. If it’s just another outlet for idealogues to promote their agenda – whether it left or right – it’s probably going nowhere.

Eliot says:

Why not...?

I think this is a reasonable idea — that isn’t to say that it will necessarily succeed, but I know that the more critical individuals amongst us will value the deeper analysis this might provide. Then again, I think this relies less on paper and more on deeper analysis. Even so, look at something like Wired magazine, or Make magazine. They have an online presence, but they have a print magazine that is quite popular.

We’ll have to see how it works.

New Guy says:

To Old Guy

Old Guy,

I would not use the NY Times, Boston GLobe and the LA Times as examples in an article about talking about fact-checking.

The under 30s do not read news papers because the news gets to them a day late and extremally biased towards the ideology of the editor.

In the digital world there are too many different ways to ‘fact-check’ a biased news article and THAT is why the print business suffer.

For to long they had it all their way and now they suffer for it.

BTW, I am decades older than 30.

Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

uhh, hello, wake up, the point is...

the content not the delivery method.

The Delivery method is evolving to a faster and cheaper means. It is the cheaper delivery that marks the downfall of printed material. Paper media (newspaper, magazine, post/snail mail) cannot compete in cost with internet delivery.

There is still room for newspapers, magazines, books but the masses will eventually move to the most efficient least expensive method of content distribution. You cannot stop it.

Just as cave drawings replaced hand-waving;
Just as written scroll replaced oral history;
Just as printing presses obsoleted the transcribing monk.

Forcing people to use inferior distribution methods will only backfire, just look at the RIAA/MPAA/DRM.
Pissing people off is never a good long term business model.

People still talk with their hands, draw on walls, tell stories, write on scrolls and use a printing press as a form of recreation, as a hobby.

“The avalanche has already started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote.”; Kosh, Ambassador to Babylon5.

Hank (user link) says:

more analytical?

The great thing about internet reporting is that it constantly evolves. An article can be updated when new facts come to light and there are generally a plethora of sources to fact check any article you read. You can get the breaking news as it happens, from people that are near the action, and the best thing is that a lot of what you can find on the internet is written by novices, everyday Joes, not professional journalists, so you get the raw emotion without all the editing. Then, professionals, experts in various fields, that may never have been consulted by print media, can comment and weigh in on the information presented. The information can continually evolve rather than being set in print, never to be edited again.

The main problem with print media, especially if they are only going to publish once per quarter, is that everything they print will be old news. We will have already moved on and will be done with the issues they present. We’ll already know everything they include in the articles. Why would I want to pay for a printed, lesser, version of what I have right here on the internet?

If they print once per quarter that means that it would still be another 6 weeks before you could read about the cyclone in Myanmar, or the earth quake in China, and you would read about the next American Idol 4 weeks after they win the competition.
What’s the name of this publication going to be, Recent History?

You will always gain more from information presented, dissected, changed, and rearranged by the masses than you ever will from information presented by the few.

But, hey, if you like reading old news just let me know. I’ll print all the breaking news on the internet today and mail it to you a month from now for $10.

Michael (profile) says:

room for both with a convergence strategy

We recently launched a keyword link system whereby, a newspaper article in print could be tagged with a keyword link to directly open an online page about THAT particular story, including updates, videos, backgrounders, whitepapers or whatever. The keyword could be typed at the newspapers website … instead all I see is “for updates, a video or whatever just go to” … I’ll get right on that, as I have nothing better to do than search for articles!!

Newspapers and magazines have the power to be the biggest internet portals on the planet … yet publishers I have spoken with don’t get the convergence thing. Had one newspaper exec state “we are still analyzing the relationship between our print readers and internet news readers!” Hello!! I would estimate over 90% of print readers under 50 also have access to the internet. It’s not rocket science for a newspaper to tag a story on say a major fire … Video and updates, type in the keyword: FIRE at One column writer recently had the full URL to a Blu-Ray firmware update page … the URL was 62 characters! Does the term “URL blindness” mean anything?

I enjoy reading a newspaper, would be nice if they realized that this Interweb thing is not a passing fad.

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