While home in Upstate New York for a weekend this winter, my mother was excited to show me a recent purchase she’d made to play music: A record player. Yep, I’m talking about vinyl. She’d found a record player, and even a few (Springsteen) records to go with it, for sale at a local Best Buy. She was understandably excited, as I’m sure it brought back memories of the first music she owned, played and loved. I’m not sure she’ll be using its capacity to play MP3s anytime soon, but a record? Those she is more than familiar with.
Analyzing trends in the way we purchase and consume media is something we’re all trying to do in this business, with the aim of being one step ahead of the curve so that we might be working on something worth sharing tomorrow, today.
But I have to say (write), trends I’ve been seeing in publishing give me some hope that we are not all destined to absorb every piece of information that we read or view through an electronic device. Don’t get me wrong, I feel like I’m missing a limb if I don’t have my phone within reach, but I don’t think it’s the ideal medium for everything we want to read, view or share. That’s not to say I deplore various social media that have crept up in the past decade. Instagram seemingly has more inspiring, beautiful photos every day, and I’ve tried to use it to share my Catch a Cure journey with you as best I could. If ever we needed to be reminded, as Shakespeare wrote, that “brevity is the soul of wit,” there’s Twitter, which, like it or hate it, will make concise writers of all of us who use it.
And we haven’t changed our name to the “United States of Facebook,” but let’s face it… that platform has had a more profound impact on the way we share, consume and absorb content than almost any in the past half century. Here again, I have to admit it has been a powerful tool in sharing Catch a Cure with sponsors, donors, anglers and readers. The advertisers that seemingly know me a little too well… I guess that’s something we have to put up with.
But I recently received my Spring issue of The Drake, and it was a robust 116 pages. Our family just adopted a new four-legged friend, and let’s just say… if you’re a dog person, there’s at least one feature in this issue you’ll like (although likely many more). It’s probably worth noting that I am in no way affiliated with The Drake, although they did publish one piece I wrote a while back, so perhaps I’m not entirely unbiased either.
And I’ve become a fan of a relatively new magazine called Anglers Journal, which I think is looking at conventional angling through the more artistic lens traditionally reserved for fly fishermen.
Of course I have a vested interest in this topic, I’m hoping to start a fishing publication you’ll love, by administering a survey to find out exactly what that is, and while I’d love for that to have a presence in all forms of media, I’d especially be excited if you’d be as interested as I am in putting it on something you didn’t have to plug in.
Field & Stream and Outdoor Life, two magazines I’ve read and loved for as long as I can remember, have held their own on the newsstand while they’ve added a myriad of web options over the years. And, of course, I think many of my New England neighbors would riot in the streets if their On The Water didn’t show up regularly in their mailboxes.
But what I’m cautiously wondering, while knocking on wood… is this: For years as the web grew and became more interactive, capable and dynamic, pessimists predicted that it would only be a matter of time before trees were safe in the woods, no longer needed for print (magazines anyway), which would go extinct as everyone turned to smartphones and laptops for all their information and entertainment.
What I’m finally beginning to hope, out loud, in light of the progress we’ve seen from all of these publications, is this: Is print here to stay? And perhaps… even… grow?