Guest post: The power of a marriage of print, online media

Students in J457, Advanced Editing, are writing guest posts for this blog this semester. This is the eighth of these posts. Sara Harris is a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill, finishing a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism this spring. She likes to find time for pleasure reading, yoga and ballet.

The focus of today’s media is to bring the news to the reader through various forms of online media. However, I don’t believe that we as news providers should be so eager to overlook and leave behind the print media.

The case for a hard push to digital media has already been made, and we, as reporters and editors, have heard it time and time again. The public is unwilling to pay for news that can be readily accessed for free on the Internet; the print media is old-fashioned or wasteful. Honestly, the list goes on and on. These have been enumerated in strategy + business on numerous occasions, citing that these weaknesses have caused profitability of the print media to drastically fall. The same arguments have been made not only against newspapers, but have extended to magazines, books and other print media.

The arguments have merit, but I did not idly stumble into a career in editing and journalism. I believe in the power of a printed word. There is strength of type on a page in your hand that I think resonates more strongly than if only seen through a screen. The interaction the reader has with the newspaper, the feel of the page, the scent of the paper and other sensations are irreplaceable by online media.

The problem, therefore, is not the form of print media but the marketing and the way current news organizations use it solely as a parallel for online forms. I believe that the saving grace for the print media is to have a symbiotic relationship with online media.

References to the opposite media form, exclusive offerings and across the board excellence are different ways to ensure the development of this bond in the readers’ mind. By having these two powerhouses of news support one another, neither will have to perish while the other survives.