Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Reports of Newspapers’ Death Greatly Exaggerated

Your correspondent was buoyed today to learn that his aversion to reading newspapers online rather than in print does not necessarily assign him to the Geezer demographic category.

Rasmussen Reports has published a new study that reveals –- among other things –- that two-thirds of those polled prefer to read the print version of their favorite newspaper rather than the digital edition.

I, for one, find that even a terrifically sophisticated and graphically appealing digital presentation like that of The New York Times simply does not deliver the psychic satisfaction of leafing through the print edition. I have also read previously that, faced with a more than one-page digital document, most people don’t bother going to the succeeding page(s). William Powers was certainly correct when he wrote (in Harvard’s Hamlet’s Blackberry Discussion Paper ) that “There are cognitive, cultural and social dimensions that come into play every time any kind of paper, from a tiny Post-it note to a groaning Sunday newspaper, is used to convey, retrieve or store information.”

Further heartening news comes from the Audit Bureau of Circulation which tells us that newspaper circulation is up in the past six months compared to the same period a year ago. Circulation of course includes digital as well as print, but it begins to look as though the newspaper-publishing industry may have finally begun to figure out the new economic model required to survive and thrive in the digital age.

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