Posted by on Feb 01, 2016 at 10:44am
In this week’s Papillon blog, Trainee Account Executive, Steph Marshall, explores the place of print in a digital world.
When a piece of print media arrives at the office, it’s like a PR’s birthday card: an often beautifully designed celebration of the exposure you have secured for your client. It’s met with excitement and joy and congratulations all round.
For the majority of PRs, it’s much more difficult to be as equally excited by web coverage. I can’t imagine there are nearly as many conversations that begin with ‘take a look at this gorgeous online news article!’
With that in mind, one must ask whether there’s more credibility, as well as a greater level of accomplishment, in an outlet’s print form compared to its digital counterpart?
Advocates of the digital era will argue that print media is nothing more than nostalgia- just as many people, if not more, are likely to curl up on the sofa with an iPad and flick through BBC News online than read the daily paper. As a ‘millennial’, it’s difficult to imagine a time when the first round of coverage was secured in second-day news, rather than minute-by-minute ‘instant’ coverage. The immediacy of the internet and social media, as well as the expectation of information at the touch of a button, has initiated a brand new thirst for any and all content to fill the 24/7 news cycle.
This, in theory, is great news for PRs seeking widespread coverage for their clients; by removing the limitations on physical space in a magazine or newspaper, a previously discarded press release could now be used as a web story, even if it doesn’t make it into the print edition. But is that necessarily a good thing?
There is something to be said for an article that has been deemed relevant enough to fill those coveted column inches. Part of the reason for this elitism of print coverage may be due to the lack of censorship on the web and the wider range of content to be consumed. For the average user, navigating through a maze of endorsements from established blogs, personal blogs, paid-for endorsements, organic recommendations and everything in between can be overwhelming and make it difficult to establish which sites can be trusted. This could account for why the top five UK news sites hold 91 percent of online readership.
Although no one knows for sure, and with much of the current dialogue to the contrary, it is likely that print media will never die, but simply evolve to suit a more niche audience. The timeliness and urgency of news lends itself nicely to rapid release on social media and online bulletins, with an extended follow up in the following day’s paper. On the other hand, glossy magazines, for the luxury sector in particular, are still widely preferred in print due to their less-time sensitive content and overall sensory experience.
Similarly, a good old newspaper will still be there for you even when the Wi-Fi isn’t, so I don’t believe we should discard print media for fish wrapper just yet!