Eliminating the Paper Habit – Moves to Online

By Suzanne McGee, Senior Account Manager, NY

Well, it wasn’t a big surprise, but InfoWorld announced its permanent move from the pulp and paper world to that of ones and zeros. On Monday, the magazine gave notice that it will no longer have a hard copy version — we’ll all get our news directly online. Here’s the news from editor in chief Steve Fox. In addition to this, Time Inc., recently announced that its making LIFE magazine an online-only publication as well — no more cool photos in hard copy, just on your screen.

Who is next? As many vertical publications get slimmer and slimmer, how will they make the switch and when? For example, there are a couple media players in the mobile space of note: PaidContent and FierceMarkets. Both of these publishers have several online newsletters that speak to a number of markets. While each relies on breaking news and some commentary, there’s nothing to stop them from expanding their coverage to rival RCR Wireless News or Wireless Week. One editor already made the move: Sue Marek left Wireless Week to FierceMarkets. Who else will make this move?

Yes, more questions, but at the same time, more ways for us pitch and promote work to the online publications. A great example of an online magazine with great news and insightful coverage is DarkReading.com. Readers in the IT security industry can read about breaking news or see what Terry Sweeney or Kelly Higgins Jackson have to say. The writing is solid, the coverage great and the Web site layout makes it easy to read and search. Plus the editors and reporters have a great sense of humor so that it’s fun to read and learn at the same time.

As PR people, it’s a given that we need to keep our eyes open to what is happening in the magazine world. We need to closely watch this move to life exclusively online. How can we serve the new needs? How do we balance feeding breaking news with opportunities for thoughtful editorials? Will this shift to a heavier dependence on advertising affect coverage? How do we measure eyeballs?

By the end of 2008, any number of publications will have made the move and many more will be talking about it. Any bets on who is next?

5 Comments
  • TaraMetBlog

    March 27, 2007 at 12:12 pm Reply

    Now that there are fewer tech publications in print I can’t help but think that it will make it harder and harder to get our clients in print and in something more tangible than what is just read on a computer screen. Less physical evidence of our own work, but I guess that’s what a printer and clip book are for, it just doesn’t look as impressive though.

  • Anonymous

    March 28, 2007 at 6:30 am Reply

    Tara – I couldn’t agree more. There is something about holding a hit you worked hard to get in your hands.

    With that said I saw the below article in today’s news.

    – Julia

    Meredith Puts Child To Bed, Folds Magazine Into Online Portal
    by Erik Sass

    Print may not be dead, but print editions are suddenly dying at an unprecedented rate. Meredith Corp. Tuesday said it would fold Child magazine, effective with its June-July issue, but would keep the Child brand alive as part of an online parenting-and-family portal that will also include content from American Baby, Family Circle and Parents. It is the second big magazine publisher to announce the closure of a major print property in as many days, following Time Inc.’s announcement to fold the print edition of Life.

  • Anonymous

    March 28, 2007 at 11:30 am Reply
  • Michael Henry

    March 29, 2007 at 4:00 pm Reply

    Suzanne’s article reminded me of the February 15th issue of the Economist . In it, various reporters discuss economic thinkers, the history of currency and more largely, our shift toward digital money. Some even BLOG ABOUT IT .

  • PMacchia

    April 9, 2007 at 7:26 am Reply

    It is quite discouraging that the print aspect is no longer a priority for the publishers. We must not lament, but go forward and adapt. Keep in mind, there were many naysayers that the TV would replace the radio. Print won’t go away, at least in my opinion, not for another 100 or so years.

    This ceasing of printing reminds me of quite the opposite during the dot-com craze. If I recall, the June (or July) 2000 issue of the Red Herring was close to 500+ pages. THAT was a story that got a lot of ink. The issue weighed somewhere between 3-4 lbs.

    As PR pros, let’s make it our personal missions to be adaptable and get our clients recognition – be that in print, online, broadcast.

    Peace Out.
    -pm

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