Print vs. Online: The ways in which old-fashioned newspapers still trump online newspapers. [slate.com] – Jack Shafer recounts his rejection of and then ultimate return to consuming the news in good olde print. For him, attention to and retention of the news is much improved. Our old friends tangibility and experience exert their influence on him as well. Recent research seems to support his experiences. How might newspapers create real value out of this burgeoning new respect for the medium? There might be something to Shafer’s sarcastic idea about having his carrier hand-deliver his digital content with cues to the familiar physical form. There’s a little bit of a buzz lately about hybrid digital/physical delivery systems, like the recent Phoenix Down album-delivery system on a sweet flash drive, noted below.
I started missing the blue Times bag on my lawn and the glossy goodness of the Sunday magazine. Perhaps if I could have gotten my carrier to toss a blue-bagged computer preloaded with the Times Reader onto my lawn every morning, I could have survived. But no. What I really found myself missing was the news. Even though I spent ample time clicking through the Times website and the Reader, I quickly determined that I wasn’t recalling as much of the newspaper as I should be. Going electronic had punished my powers of retention. I also noticed that I was unintentionally ignoring a slew of worthy stories…My anecdotal findings about print’s superiority were seconded earlier this month by an academic study…The researchers found that the print folks “remember significantly more news stories than online news readers”; that print readers “remembered significantly more topics than online newsreaders”; and that print readers remembered “more main points of news stories.” When it came to recalling headlines, print and online readers finished in a draw… Newspapers are less distracting—as anybody who has endured an annoying online ad while reading a news story on the Web knows. Also, and I’m channeling the paper a little bit here, by virtue of habit and culture a newspaper commands a different sort of respect, engagement, and focus from readers.
Besides eliminating clutter, one of our favorite upshots of the post-CD era is the micro-movement of creative USB stick design. We’ve seen Doc Martens, surfboards and Red Stripe bottles among other adorable forms for the little devices, so it’s somewhat surprising that more bands haven’t paired sound and vision like Junk Science and Scott Thorough recently did by releasing their new album Phoenix Down on a mini-hard drive. Loaded with the tracks, as well as instrumentals, a cappella versions and a bonus folder of remixes and more, the limited-edition flash drive is a soft-rubber pixelated feather—a fitting mix of nature and digital for their 8-bit-heavy sound and lyrics like “the future’s pixelated.”