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  • By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

Print lives

To be honest, I had nagging self-doubts when I was conceptualizing this publication project, given that everyone seems to have an opinion on the fate of traditional journalism. Amid the rapid surge of the Internet and the growing influence of the social media, I’ve heard it buzzing around: print is dying; print is dead. Ugh, was this project a fool’s errand?

I’m from the brave old world, forever grateful to Gutenberg. I still take pleasure in the texture and smell of ink on paper, a reminder that the stories are real, not a fleeting hashtag or a mere digital simulation of reality.

My generation couldn’t have all gone extinct. So I decided I’d give it a shot anyway—even just to satisfy my curiosity and test the market. So, in October 2016, we launched the maiden issue of the Pacific Island Times, in partnership with Palau’s Pacific Note, armed with conviction that there is room for independent journalism, bereft of corporate and political influences.

The Pacific Island Times/Pacific Note team is composed of veteran journalists, whose goal is to fill the gap in regional reporting through long-form journalism, thorough research, opinions and news analysis. Our advertising revenues are reinvested into building our print and online content.

Despite the challenges that confront any startup business, we have been gaining more trust from our readers and receiving more support than we expected. Our print and digital subscriptions as well as online readership are growing.

This October issue is a celebration of our milestone. One year!

But those in the business of print publications don’t have the luxury of complacence. Common business sense requires us to make a critical examination of our chances at further success and what we may be up against.

Research looks promising; it shows that the publishing industry is not as bad as initially predicted by doomsayers. On the contrary, the print industry is predicted to see a renaissance. According to stats, new title launches in 2017 nationwide outnumber closures by a wide margin, a big reversal from the situation in 2009. Statistics from Statista, show the overall number of U.S. magazines is staying fairly steady over the last few years and is significantly higher than it was 10-15 years ago.

Some speculate that the unexpected resurgence of print is triggered by people’s need to occasionally delink and shut off from the noise of the online world. “The more digital our lives become, the more we are looking for balance – and the more we’re rediscovering the tactile and tangible benefits of print,” blogger Louella Fernandez writes

In a 2012 article, Forbes magazine took a closer look at print media, identified some advantages it has over its digital counterparts and why it should remain an option for advertisers:

Tangibility – A print piece is a physical thing. Magazines and newspapers can stay in houses or offices for months or years, while Internet ads can disappear into cyber space instantaneously.

Credibility – There is something about print that gives a sense of legitimacy. The saturation of popups and banner ads on the web can be overwhelming and the fear of spam and viruses is enough make people weary of clicking.

Branding – Print ads are excellent for solidifying brand identity.

Target Marketing – Placing ads in publications such as specialty magazines can effectively reach niche audiences that may be more difficult to target online.

More Engaging – Consumers are more engaged when reading printed material, unlike websites, which are often skimmed in as little as a 15 second visit. A study shows that people read digital screen text 20 percent – 30 percent slower than printed paper.

Studies have also shown that readers are more engaged when we’re reading printed material, as it demands our full attention.

It thus encourages critical reading, which inspires deep thinking — just like what seek to offer.

So long live print, which has already had a rather long life and digital too!


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