In light of recent discussions made by the Student Representative Assembly concerning the fate of Incite Magazine, talks of the supposed “death of print” have once again circulated campus.
Incite Magazine is McMaster University’s creative arts and writing publication featuring student work across a wide range of mediums. The magazine, which prints three times a year, is entirely student-led and student-funded, receiving $1.02 per student annually.
Recently, the Finance Committee of the SRA made the recommendation to send Incite Magazine to referendum to determine its budget. If passed, the referendum had the potential to reduce Incite’s budget byhalf, or even remove it altogether.
When a university that arguably undervalues the arts proposes cutting funding from a magazine that serves as one of the few remaining spaces on campus for creatives, the student body should be alarmed. While the motion to send Incite Magazine to referendum failed to pass at the SRA meeting on Jan. 6, even the idea that the magazine could nix their print publications and simply “shift their operations to an online platform” has harmful implications.
It’s no secret that many publications are going digital. Just last year, Teen Vogue, a popular magazine among millennials, discontinued their print editions. As more publications shift towards an all-digital platform, advocates for print media must stand strong.
But if the content is the same online, why bother printing? Print publications are much more than their content — it’s the experience of reading a print magazine that holds value. Content is obviously important but elements of production including graphic designs and layouts add just as much value to the finished product as the content itself.
Studies have even shown that time after time, readers will continuously choose printed magazines over their digital counterparts. Unsurprisingly, after a transition to an entirely digital platform, those print readers aren’t transitioning with the publication. They’re just gone.
Consider where you’re reading this editorial. Chances are, you picked up a copy of The Silhouette offhand, flipped through the contents, and skimmed the articles that piqued your interest. As far as technology has advanced, this experience cannot be replicated online.
So no, print isn’t dead. Nor should it be. As an editor of both The Silhouette and Incite Magazine, I’ve witnessed firsthand the hard work and dedication put into creating print publications. It’s my hope that readers recognize the efforts put into each issue and stand in support of print publications.