Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dave Eggers: Print Is Not Dead

From The Huffington Post:
Dave Eggers wants publishers and editors to get realistic about print.
Speaking at the New School's Tishman Auditorium in Manhattan on Wednesday night, the author and editor of McSweeney's was bullish about the future of newspapers and books, so long as their creators don't expect them to fund a media empire.
"The numbers can work out where you're not going to lose your shirt, but that's if you don't automatically buy a building or sports team," said Eggers. "Just be a little cautious and work within reasonable expectations, and people who are in it to make money can probably make money--as a lot of people still are."
Eggers outlined how print publishing could be artistically and financially rewarding as part of a discussion of San Francisco Panorama, the Sunday newspaper-sized issue of McSweeney's that came out in December. The 320-page issue is printed in broadsheet format and separated into traditional newspaper sections including news, sports and art as well as a book review and Panorama Magazine insert. Eggers was joined by Salon.com co-founder Laura Miller and McSweeney's staff editor and designer Chris Ying.


Eggers emphasized that newspapers could succeed by having a more independent mindset. While he acknowledged this may sound unrealistic in an age of massive media conglomerates, He pointed out that just a few years ago and certainly a few decades ago, independent papers were numerous and successful.
"But now they let people who are manufacturing widgets and other things determine newsroom budgets and what gets reported, so they are not necessarily looking at what's best for the media or the art of journalism," said Eggers.
Bringing in the talents of authors and artists, and several newspaper professionals who had recently lost their jobs, Panorama was done as an homage to the traditional newspaper and a demonstration of the potential that the form holds for creativity and compelling storytelling.
Panorama's initial print run of 20,000 copies sold out in its first day at newsstands (for $5) and bookstores (for $16) and a second printing hit the streets several weeks after, some copies of which are still available at The Strand and other independent bookstores in New York.
Eggers acknowledged that such independent papers could not compete with the Internet for breaking news, but that the printed format offers...

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