Media: Praise for Paper

NYerClowesWe the parents each took some reading matter along to Kids Fun Stop on Sunday morning. When we got there, we saw that they have wireless, and wondered if we should have brought computers.

While we were there, I read (some of) the New Yorker, which is the only magazine that arrives in our house by subscription. With a PC, I could have done the same reading online. For example, here is an interesting article on the question: Should creative writing be taught?

But I was better off with the magazine in paper form. It’s very portable (important when one is keeping kids in view), boots quickly, offers excellent print resolution, etc. Of course, this wasn’t the first time I’ve been struck by the advantages of paper, it won’t be the last, and many others make similar remarks.

I wouldn’t consider it worthy of remark were it not for the illustration that adorns the cover of the current issue. A space traveler sits among gadgety debris, happily absorbed in a book. So: praise for paper; and kudos for Daniel Clowes, the artist.

Business Week Redesign

bwlogo.gifI bought a magazine on Saturday, for the first time in many a month. The magazine in question was Business Week. I used to subscribe to the dead trees edition, and have sometimes regretted letting my subscription lapse. Although I can read BW Online, longer articles read better on paper, at least in my ancient eyes.

My purchase was prompted by two main things: I was about to go on a longish flight, and I saw Bruce Nussbaum’s post on the redesign of BW.

I’ve been part of a secret process of reinventing the magazine medium that will be unveiled on Friday when a new kind of Business Week hits the stands… We wanted to go beyond a redesign and do a rethink of how people get information and analysis today, given the web and the way we live and work.

The result, as I look on the wall and see it take life, is a new kind of print medium that I think will be the model for magazines to copy in the years ahead.

I find that post rather more impressive than the reinvented magazine it persauded me to buy. My main comment is that BW is trying too hard to “brief” its readers in the print edition. But I read paper because it is a good medium for articles, books, and other longer stuff. If I want brief, I’d rather read it on the screen, probably via the web.

As I typed in the above on the plane for later posting, I was sure that I wouldn’t be alone in this reaction. Sure enough, Joe Wickert’s remarks are similar to mine, although more extensively and vigorously expressed.