In this post we are featuring guest ranter Patricia Craft, managing editor of Horticulture magazine. Her rant strikes a familiar chord with me; as a fellow magazine editor, I struggle with balancing online and print priorities—especially since my heart—and our revenues—are still located in the printed page.—Elizabeth
Take your dire warnings of the death of print and leave me be. There is nothing I love so much as coming home to find the current issue of my favorite magazine in my mailbox. I climb the three flights of stairs to my condo with eagerness, knowing I’ll soon be curled up on my big comfy couch with friends who will be dispensing advice and inspiration in liberal, beautifully photographed doses. And I’ll get to see what the fashion fool says I should or shouldn’t wear this month—how did he get that gig?
I love a magazine that entertains and educates me, and that month after month is reliable but manages to surprise me, too. As the managing editor of Horticulture, I understand how much time, blood, sweat, and tears go into planning, editing, designing, proofing and getting every single issue to print. It’s our goal to have our readers respond just the way I do to that certain other magazine when the new Horticulture lands in their mailboxes.
Yeah, yeah, I know they say print is dead and that online is where it’s at today (and that the trend is toward even more web-centered publishing). There is, indeed, a shift toward serving our customers’ additional needs online—we try to do it every day at Horticulture. Along with putting out a print issue, we keep our Website (hortmag.com) full of up-to-the-minute info, we share additional information that we couldn’t fit into the print edition with links to Dig Deeper online, we’ve partnered with the irreverent and wonderful Amanda Thomsen, who blogs on our site, we produce CDs and DVDs full of gardening advice culled from the pages of the magazine (we have more than 100 years of gardening archives from which to tap), we host webinars, we manage a Facebook page and you’ll find us on Twitter @cohorts. I know first-hand that publishing no longer means simply putting print on paper—now we’re a media company.
I subscribe to the I-blog-therefore-I-am theory in my personal life, spend ridiculous amounts of time on Facebook and am trying to tweet (@pattycraft) more often. But no matter how much I love staying connected with thousands of people online, and surfing the blogosphere with my morning cup of coffee, my finest hours are still spent on that comfy couch, with a beloved if endangered species: my favorite magazine.
Long live print!>