To a large extent, I’m just like you. I’ve got my smartphone, laptop, desktop, and I’ve been known to steal my husband’s iPad. With all this digital technology at my fingertips, you’d think I’d read The New York Times digital edition. But no! In our house, it’s the paper version that covers the large center island in our kitchen. It’s the rustle of paper that accompanies our morning bagel and coffee. It’s the torn-out recipes that go next to our shopping list (also written on paper!). It’s the folded over page that serves as the reminder to me to ask my kids “Did you read this article? I thought you’d find it interesting/helpful/shocking” and then launch into a dinnertime discussion.
My daughter (the sustainability major) forgives me this less than environmentally-friendly indulgence. In our house, there’s a sense of community with paper that can’t be duplicated by digital.
Print vs. Digital: What’s the Difference?
I used to work in the movie business. People always said that large commercially-available screens would be the death of the movie theater. And yet they weren’t. There’s something about a shared experience that people need. For my family, that shared experience lands on our doorstep every morning.
Don’t get me wrong. The digital edition has its advantages, with video, crystal clear photography, and the ability to comment and share via text, email, and social media. Yet I can’t help but think of how many pieces I’d miss without the print edition. The article that, by headline alone, wouldn’t grab me. The things that never crossed my radar, because the software only suggests the most popular articles, or the ones it thinks I’ll like. And then there’s the tactile element! The large scale graphics that I can spread out. The articles and recipes I tear out and put in my desk folders or cooking library, dog-eared and cranberry-juice-stained in testament to their frequent use.
There’s just something magical about print newspapers. Just ask Lauren Hillenbrand. When she was asked about her impetus to write Unbroken (a fabulous read!), she said the idea came to her while she was doing the research for her first bestseller Seabiscuit. Hillenbrand doesn’t do her research on microfiche like most writers; she buys vintage newspapers to soak in the details of the era. She wants to see the articles in their full context—what the ads were promoting, what stories were being covered, what was “hot.” In researching Seabiscuit, Hillenbrand turned the page of a vintage paper and there was a picture of groundbreaking runner Louie Zamperini and a story about his earth-shattering track achievements. The book sold millions of copies and even got a movie directed Angelina Jolie, proving that nugget hidden in a pile of old papers was absolutely worth mining for.
We Love Our Digital Options—but We Still Have a Love Affair with Print!
We’ve played with the idea of giving up our print edition. We have the NYT app on our phones, get instant updates about breaking news, and we’ve fallen in love with the cooking app. They make our lives better.
But after spending most of our day staring at one device or another, it’s refreshing to take a break from the screens. It’s cathartic to pour over a page and see what jumps out at us; to see a full span of articles in one take; to cuddle up with my daughters and the Style section; to pull a chair up close to my husband as we dive into Business; to be inspired by Food for our family dinners; and, after a few health scares, to be comforted by the rational outlook of Science. Realizing how much you don’t know is strange but invigorating, and their tidbits of medical information have made us smarter, wiser, more empowered advocates.
The digital world brings us closer to people in a myriad of ways. But there is a texture—and I mean that literally and figuratively—that paper adds to our life that my family and I are just not ready to give up.
Here at MarketSmiths, our writers are always thinking about the impact compelling copy makes on the world, even over the morning paper. Whether you’re looking to produce a brochure in print or want to enhance your digital presence with crisp new web copy, we’d love to help. Get in touch today to find out more.