Ego and the Power of Print

29 Jul

During the recent years of print publishing’s decline, I’ve heard many reasons why print remains relevant. You know them, too.

* Print is more portable

* Print has higher resolution

* Print is a better medium for photojournalism and designers

* Print is perceived to have a greater value than the same content in digital form

As time passes most of the arguments in print’s favor begin to lose their impact. As the headline says, “Even Print People Know Print Is Dead.”

Except it’s not. Our egos will keep print alive for a long, long time.

People prefer to see their names in print rather than online. Content online feels ephemeral, while print reeks of permanence. In fact, seeing your name in print is a much more motivating force to most writers than money. We’re told, for example, that citizen journalists get involved in reporting on their communities in hopes of getting their names in print.

Digital content doesn’t sustain the ego like print does. In an era when everyone and their dog has a blog, there’s nothing special about writing one. (BlogPulse currently counts 144 million of them.) Sure, writing a blog can give your ego a taste of fame, but getting your name in print is like sitting your ego down to a four-course meal of immortality.

In the hundreds of stories I’ve written for various publications, when they’ve involved working with public relations professionals I’m always asked if the piece will run in print as well as online. If yes, I often get access to more senior officials because the PR person knows that the high-and-mighty aren’t impressed with seeing their names online. But if they can see them in print, the PR pro gets happy slaps on the back. (Unless, of course, the story is not very flattering.)

It’s time we started to include the most powerful argument in print’s defense: our fragile egos. I think print can ride on them for many years to come.


One Response to “Ego and the Power of Print”


  1. Tweets that mention Ego and the Power of Print « Croisan Views -- - July 29, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Everett Hall and Mark Everett Hall, jswartz652. jswartz652 said: RT @croisan: One reason print #publishing has a long life ahead of it: Our egos […]

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