Tomorrow I’ll be picking up a copy of The Observer for the second week running, only partly because I have another piece about videogames in there.
I don’t want to sound like an egotistical prick, but there’s something special about seeing your name in print, perhaps more so than being credited for something online. And I like keeping a physical portfolio of my work – it’s good to have something more tangible than a collection of hyperlinks or Word documents.
Websites seem to revel in the apparent decline of print media – for obvious reasons – but it’s clear that print is still more widely respected in general than online. This is partly because the internet gives a voice to anyone and everyone, and it can sometimes be hard to sift through the nonsense to find the good stuff. Whereas print – to a point – has its own inbuilt shit filter. It’s also easier to happen across interesting facts, stories or opinions you might otherwise miss online. Reading a newspaper from cover to cover can yield any number of surprises. You’d have to be incredibly thorough to gather the same amount of information from a website.
I’ve witnessed games PRs actively push for newspaper coverage for key titles, with online reporting considered a poor second. That’s hardly surprising: many readers are unlikely to actively seek out the videogames section of that newspaper’s website, though they might just take a second glance at the games page of their publication of choice when flicking through during elevenses.
Perhaps I’m being old-fashioned, but reading a magazine or newspaper to me is infinitely preferable to reading from a screen. I spend enough of my day tapping away in front of a monitor – why shouldn’t I want to minimise my time with that harsh light glaring back at me? And, for the most part, print design is way more visually interesting and exciting than the more utilitarian online layouts.
It’ll be interesting to see whether pay-to-read online material – and from what I understand it’s not so much a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’ – will lead to a wave of readers returning to print. I’d like to think so. There’s a sense that print’s permanence somehow makes it more significant – once a publication goes to press, it can’t be edited, retooled or deleted. And then those words are potentially in the hands of tens or hundreds of thousands of people. That someone considers your work significant enough to be worthy of that honour is quite something.
I’ll be buying The Observer tomorrow because I genuinely consider it a great newspaper, and because I believe print media should be supported. That my name will be appearing therein, below 200-odd words about some Nintendo games, is merely an added bonus.