Now that I have your attention on this Independence Day, this is about as true as “computers will eliminate paper…” and “email will extinguish postal delivery.” Print magazines will walk the fine line taken by radio – which enjoyed a heyday in the 30s, and TV – both evolving, both growing more distinguished as they mature, and certainly not disappearing. For the human spirit, each new medium is novel, and interesting, useful, and sometimes unique, but we only have five senses (most of us, anyway, for now), and we appreciate certain combinations of stimulation of each to feed different compelling needs.
You only have to let your fingers slide down from the corner of a magazine page until they sense the traction signaling that it’s about to separate from the sheet behind it and turn to know that the print magazine will never die. No matter how fast the pages turn, no matter if the next page holds a story or an ad, there is certain anticipation and then equal joy with each passing sheet of content. The same anticipation as when you open your mailbox and the joy of finding this month’s copy of a favorite magazine. All this within the context of the certain advancement and diversification of media choices, which are flooding into the digital realm.
I say this obviously as I am writing a blog, at the same time that I am listing to a podcast news summary, in between sending out emails to teachers about MagazineLiteracy.org’s own plans for digital literacy – all of which compliments, and none of which detracts from my love for real, coated stock, paper magazines.
If you can read this, then you can read. Reading comes so naturally, it’s easily taken for granted. Is reading important in this age of the Internet and everything digital? Many adults can’t read – a cereal box, a job description, a web page, or a magazine. Illiterate adults were once children who missed their chance to learn to read. A child who cannot read is a child lost – unable to do well in any school subject. Many teachers do not have good reading materials for their students. Many children do not have reading materials at home. These stakeholders are outside the blogosphere.
After hearing so much talk lately about the demise of print magazines, I was pleasantly surprised tonight by John Byrne, Executive Editor of Business Week magazine, who said during his “Behind this Week’s Cover Story” podcast about the story (interestingly enough, entitled “Eureka, We Failed!”) that it “is a classic example of great magazining, because it presents a very original and unusual story that takes quite a smart take on a topic that you rarely read about.” It validated for me in an instant that magazines – timely and topical, colorful and engaging – stand head and shoulders with books and newspapers, and yes, digital content, among America’s most viable and valuable reading resources…and they’re so much fun!