In the era of free online content, there are still a few of us that want to buy and hold on to a practice that many consider dead, printed journalism. Could the few of us keep an entire industry alive? Is there hope for a return to the physical magazines in the near future?
As I am writing this to be published online, I look at a couple of this month’s magazines from my desk. More of a habit, I like to buy those and then enjoy reading an article or two in the morning along with having a coffee before I get to start working. Most of those are fashion editions of Glamour and Cosmopolitan, but also smaller publications that include more than the latest trends. From lifestyle to beauty and travel, I find it important to read also content that I wouldn’t have chosen myself if I was looking at the online publication. A different point of view can offer me the possibility to think outside the box. Also, it exposes me to topics that I perhaps haven’t thought of. Nowadays these so-called shallow publications offer a lot more than social media platforms.
Another big part of the printed versions is that you are not constantly targeted with ads. Clearly, there are a lot of products that are sponsored, yet you simply have to turn the page and they will disappear. Furthermore, these are products that are not using artificial intelligence to compel you to spend, they will not be presented to you on your paycheck day and will not appear once you have spoken some words out loud. The advanced technics used for advertising are starting to scare me off and there seems to be no way out if as long as you are online.
In recent years, we created a universe of our own. We are exposed to the same content and ideas and most of those are sponsored by different brands. Even the content that is not paid to be promoted, is more or less on the same area of interest and is given to you based on past choices. Different opinions and healthy conflict is shut down due to political correctness and we are left to believe that our opinion is not only the correct one but also the only one that really matters. In a desert of new ideas and a lack of exposure to other activities, we are building a cage around us that makes us believe we are the only ones that matter.
Just as I know that printed books will never be out of style and that we will always prefer to hold the physical book and then add it to our library, I hope that one day we will return to basics and prefer printed journalism. The online environment has offered us so much but, unfortunately, has also taken so much away. We need to make sure we are surrounding ourselves with information that is not offered in return for us buying different products. The free content does come with a price and until there is a way around all of this, I would much rather prefer the physical versions, at least for them I know the price at front.