Mr. Magazine's M.O.: A Fickle Mistress

The best way to legitimize digital is to recognize the primacy of print.

Rebecca Darwin, president and CEO of Garden & Gun Magazine, was a speaker at this year’s ACT III Experience at the University of Mississippi and is adamant in her belief in print. She agreed with Mary Berner, the new president and CEO of MPA-The Association of Magazine Media, in saying it is “absolutely the case” that we need to stop apologizing for magazines.

Print is the cornerstone of publishing, and while it uses and complements additional bricks in the pavement, it is the piece that holds the publishing family together. It is the mortar that binds. It is proven and sustainable, the beginning and end when it comes to publishing. All things in between— digital, iPads, mobile, etc.—are mere daughters, sons and cousins of print.

In the boudoir of many publishing houses, you will find the temptress Digital roaming the halls. Many successful publications develop the itch to stray from their magnanimous partner, Print, and fall into the beguiling arms of Digital by herself, without that root of print, just because everyone else is doing it. My thoughts on this: Never be a follower, always be a leader. Newsweek will prove me right about that. It’s only a matter of time.

And speaking of Time, try telling that highly successful publication it doesn’t need print in its family portrait.

What I am getting at here is this: Digital is not for every magazine or publication on the newsstands. Does In Style really need an app to showcase those long-legged, beautiful models with their designer clothes draped across their bodies? I think not. Print knows how to treat a lady.

And then there are the technical issues: Downloads that are huge and take forever to load. Resolution problems. Controls that are very slow to respond. Pagination issues; the list goes on.

Related Content
  • Bill Esler

    Boy are you wrong Mr. Magazine –
    Number one, magazine production costs – burdened by rising costs in everything from USPS pension liabilities, the cost of fueling energy-wasting boilers in paper plants, to repairs on aging printing presses – force the squeeze of quality from the printed product – and thereby diminish engagement.

    The engaging thing about online is that we can place so many things there that will captivate a viewer/reader. For an editor our ability to tell the whole story, without constraints of length, to show all the pictures we took, not just two or three, and the ability to embed video, changes the ballgame.

    Print brand publications increasingly serve as snapshots of what can be found online, and reminders of websites and the collective conscious of the editorial crew building them.

  • Tablazines

    Let’s not forget the one basic thing… the clutter. I’m an avid reader of magazines and I like to save publications to refer back to previous articles. Of course this means that I’ve amassed quite a collection of paper materials.. or should I say "had"… the minute I my lady move in… something had to give…lol.

    I like being able to digitally have access to every publication I own and not having to carry around 4 or 5 bulky publications on a crowded NYC subway.

    As a graphic designer and one who deals with a lot of printers.. the only I will miss is the smell of paper on ink when it’s freshly printed…lol