Digital and Print Media: Facing the Future Without Losing the Past

By: Lilly Erickson, Intern

In this new digital age, people tend to scroll through Instagram and Facebook on their iPhones to find trending topics, rather than flip through a paper-and-ink magazine. Don’t let these social media-thirsty people fool you. Print is still very much alive. That being said, times have changed and the issue of how to tackle the online world, while still sticking to good old-fashioned print, is multifaceted.

On Tuesday evening, April 5, 2016, entrepreneurs, journalists, editors, and numerous other members of the Santa Barbara community attended the insightful panel hosted by AWC-SB, “Modern Journalism: Local Pioneers Keeping Print Alive and Pushing Digital Media Forward.” The diverse panel, led by Jennifer Blaise Kramer, senior editor of Santa Barbara Magazine, encompassed various forms of print, from news, to lifestyle and food. The local media gurus included Marianne Partridge, editor-in-chief of the Santa Barbara Independent; Gina Tolleson, executive editor of Santa Barbara Magazine; Krista Harris, editor of Edible Santa Barbara; and Andrea Estrada, director of news and media relations at UCSB.

The first question regarded print publications, and how they are surviving today. Gina remarked on the importance of staying in touch with the Santa Barbara community. With the current downsize in print, staying updated through social media and other writers, is a way to get to know “how the city ticks.”

The panelists pointed out that the balancing print and digital platforms is a challenge. Andrea focuses on a two-part process of putting out news, as well as reacting to news, the balance between these two mediums is difficult. Marianne highlighted on the fact that journalism is about “rolling with the punches.” Whether print or digital, the main purpose is to get the news out to the public.

Several other publications inspire these panelists while they try to stay on the forefront of both digital and print platforms. In the foodie world, Lucky Peach has a “great online presence,” Krista said. In terms of global issues, Marianne pointed out that The New York Times and Washington Post are really pushing online publication in order to spread news to the public as seamlessly as possible.

In the panelists’ channels of modern journalism, they must use social media all the time to publicize their stories. What do you think gets the most “Likes” on Instagram from Edible Santa Barbara? If you’re picturing those sweet, savory, gooey, oozing-with-chocolate desserts, you guessed right. What about from Santa Barbara Magazine? It’s those iconic, epic Santa Barbara sunset shots that get the most hits.

In this digital age, pushing online media forward while keeping print alive is a complex issue. These panelists, however, have tackled the task. Marianne said, “It takes human power and working really hard hours, but I am the luckiest editor in the United States.”

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