By Aaditya Venkatesh
Print, as an industry, has undergone a significant decline since the advent of digital and non-traditional forms of media.
But a small subset of dedicated and hard-working printers remains and they have seen the boom and bust of the print industry and have tried to adapt to the shifting winds of modern media. Print industry professional Graham Easson has been working in the business since 1980.
“From that press room in London, we printed 5.2 million ‘Sun’, 1.5 million ‘Times’ and 500,000 ‘Today’ newspapers every night”, Mr Easson said, when asked about his experiences.
On Saturday nights, he and less than 1,000 other staff would print 5.5 million ‘News of the World’ papers, a clear example of their heyday. But the real boom came when newspaper could be printed half in colour and half in monochrome – which became full colour in 1996, as they produced the best quality prints and allowed newspaper advertisers to have adverts in colour, which also contributed to the gilded age of print.
Even when digital and non-traditional forms of media began to take precedence over print, the industry was coming up with various innovations, including being able to work with pdf page sending and digitising workflow to create a more efficient system. Despite their best efforts to innovate and adapt to the shifting market trends, print for the most part has conceded its position as the dominant form of media consumption.
Mr Easson said: “Newspapers cannot really compete with instant 24-hour news and advertising. All newspapers are trying to migrate to a digital format, but it is very slow, and they struggle to gain the same revenue.”
But Mr Easson is convinced that print still has a place in media. “At the moment, due to a generation gap, not everyone can, or will, use digital media and regularly buy a newspaper.”
While the future of print media will perhaps only see established titles survive in print, for the moment professionals like Mr Easson and his company JPI Media, will do their best to innovate, invigorate and thrive in the print market.