“This child is a part of the generation that will someday rule the world. Physical magazines and newspapers will seem like sad, silly things to her. Only of use to doddering fools who remember a simpler time.” – Lance Ulanoff

Some of you may have read Mashable’s newest article about how old and tangible media, (books, newspapers, magazines,) are considered ‘broken‘ or vastly out of date to a new generation. Some of you may have even noticed that AT&T sponsored the post and that it was in fact a large, content-driven advertisement for its annual Mashable’s conference, with tickets in the $600 range. Lance reminises about the events that have lead up to this revolution, I reminisced about transparency. Could I actually have believed this was a solid case for new media instead of a very complex advertisement?

I was enticed to read the article from a tweet. The article was well-written and gave an account by decade of all the information leading up to the assumption that paper and ink, by their very nature were obsolete. It went on to state that this ‘revolution,’ (though it’s certainly happening,) has changed the landscape of media, forever. Lance showcased the greed behind magazines and advertising rates, citing that over 60% of the magazine itself, was advertisements and less than 40% was content. The author had me until he started using words like, “massacre,” and later, blaming bloggers and the evolution of real-time-media.

“Simultaneously, countless bloggers were setting up what might be called daily or hourly online newspapers where they opined on their topic of choice. These destinations probably hurt niche publications most. Those small, vertical magazines (think Cat Fancy) thrived on serving a target audience, but only once or twice a month. Blogs hit the topic hourly.” – Lance Ulanoff

Never once did I see actual criticism for the writing, and the poor content that has plagued newspapers and magazine over the past decade. If the quality remained in newspapers and print media, there would be fewer reasons to find information elsewhere.  Have we really become this lazy as a society that we no longer care where we get our news, as long as we get it first? When everyone has an opinion, it opens our minds. When everyone is convinced their writing and opinions are correct, it closes conversations. Additionally, when Mashable takes a stab at the industry of tangible media and claims it all might disappear, the self-serving aspect  of the article speaks loudest. One header actually read, “All Your Media Are Belong To Us.” We get it, Mashable.

Well-written, tangible media should always have a place in our society. There is something to be said of the accomplishment of turning a single page for me, or the feeling of not wanting to put a book down after being finished. The more we label print media as, “old,” the more we restrict the promise and importance of printed mediums for future generations. For Mashable to claim one is, “not needed,” or “extinct,” is the moment we discredit a still, very-viable method of receiving information. The solution is dramatically simple: Provide better content, in all mediums. Create advocates behind your words, photos, video because it is GOOD, not because it is new and fresh.

Printed pages from the internet don’t offer my office walls the same look as ripped pages from a magazine. To even start the article with the shocking video of a toddler unable to understand a book speaks more to the child’s parents than to our society as a whole. One recent statistic speaks volumes:

“Children are more likely to own a phone than a book.”  - DailyBuzzBlog

Kristina Bjoran commented on the misleading opening of the toddler and the article by stating this:

“What that video shows is a tiny person doing what she would do whether or not she’s seen an iPad before or not–developing her motor skills and the way she interfaces with the world. People are projecting intention into this little girl, and the video’s editing is very intentional.”

While I can’t argue at statistics and the way the world is moving, I can point out that this debate has happened in countless summits, board rooms and conferences over the past few years.  If we are intentionally raising a generation of children not aware that books exist, we are dooming ourselves into stupidity. Online media is ONE, singular tool that is available. The moment it becomes the only tool, is the moment we need to step back and wonder why we placed so much worth on the new and different and so little on what has brought us to this point. I read Wired magazine, (in print form,) along with my CES Quarterly. Why? Quality will always win. I’ll bet my keyboard on it.