If a journalism review falls, does anyone hear it?
Today’s snail mail brought with it a letter from Columbia Journalism Review Editor Elizabeth Spayd, announcing what had been announced online weeks ago: CJR is drastically scaling back on its print run. This shouldn’t come as any surprise to close watchers of journalism and especially its print struggles. Just this summer, the American Journalism Review went a step farther and completely ceased all publication.
Besides the belated news sharing — which in this humble opinionator’s opinion should have been mailed with much more alacrity (in AJR’s case, I don’t think they even sent anything, ever) — this is a real loss. Why, you ask?
Because print still is a valuable medium, still serves to curate content according to the wisdom of the journalists who do the hard work of putting together the stories, photos and whatnot. It serves as a central place for a community — geographic or otherwise — to gather.
And, hell, CJR had some killer departments (some of which already were falling by the wayside) that frankly just traveled better in print. To cite but a few: the breathtaking photos of newsrooms that occupied an entire spread in each issue (though I think that was killed off a little while ago), and the typos in headlines (which used to run a full page but also seems to have been scaled back).
In case your only takeaway from this is that I’m a print purist, don’t get me (entirely) wrong: Online, mobile, VR even, all have their place. I’m absolutely loving every word of The Wall Street Journal’s multi-part, long-form series on demographic challenges facing developing nations. I think it’s only (or primarily, anyway) online.
Check it out at the bottom of this page (for whatever reason, in my opinion the Journal hasn’t done that good a job of promoting this online-only series on its own website).