Now that people can get so much information from the web, is there still a place for magazines today? It’s a question that is close to our hearts here; torn as we are between Macworld online and the Macworld magazine.
It’s a question that comes up a lot these days. Some people feel that since we can get reviews and news and all the other information we need online why would anyone want to buy a magazine.
I think that it’s the huge wealth of information available on the web that makes magazines even more valuable.
Have you recently tried to find the information you want on the web? Even though Google is great it's still a hopeless task, because Google’s standard search, as good as it is, doesn’t rank the most recent information at the top. So, for example, when I was searching for information on the 802.11n standard the files I was finding were often a couple of years old. I know that there are other specialist search engines that do allow you to perform more advanced searches, but its extra hassle when you are in a hurry...
There is just too much information on the web and getting at the stuff you need isn’t easy, even if you use clever search terms.
This is why I think there will always be a place for journalists to research and edit and present this information in an easy to absorb format, certainly on the web, but also in a magazine or a newspaper.
The internet is about what is news now. If you are interested in tracking the evolving story about the iPhone then you can search for stories about the iPhone every day. But this is still a lot of work and most people don’t have the time to do that. What if you just wanted to catch up on the whole story in one easily digestible chunk. Well, that’s where a good magazine comes in.
In a magazine a busy person can read a concise article that pulls together the important factors in an evolving story. When this article hits the shelves of WHSmiths it might be a week out, true, but it’s still of value in that it pulls together this mass of information and saves the reader spending hours of their time going through the lot. And the best bit is they don’t need to be in front of a computer to read it, they can read on the train or bus, or in the smallest room of the house.
So what does the future hold for magazines and newspapers now that there is so much information available on the web? I think that it means, more than ever before, that we need people who can sort through all this information and present it in a concise easy to absorb format, and that the perfect medium for this is a magazine.
Of course, the people reading this will be people who are so comfortable on the web that they won't agree with me about the future of magazines... Or maybe you will surprise me.