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From the Editor: Embracing modern media and improving modern culture

November 1, 2009

With The Talking Twenties’ first anniversary coming up next month, I’ve started giving a lot of thought to all the advantages that come with having a blogzine versus a print publication.  Sounds a little counterintuitive, right?  The internet is generally considered second to traditional print mediums – that is, if you don’t consider the practical side of things.

November Cover Art

November Cover Art, Photo by Vitaly Nikolaev

Many publications are now finding they cannot compete with the speed and accessibility of the internet, plus the reduced overhead of not having to pay for printing costs.  Newspaper Death Watch (www.newspaperdeathwatch.com) lists 11 American newspapers that have gone out of print since March 2007, plus 8 that have gone the way of the internet, publishing either simulteanously online and in print or moving exclusively to the online-realm.

It’s not just news publications that are suffering, either.  The Rambler, a creative writing journal that used to be carried in Barnes & Noble, recently announced that they would be ceasing publication indefinitely, while Big Lucks, a new journal that will publish both in print and online, has captured the feeling of this modern problem in their mission statement.

“Magazines are folding and America’s oldest publishing houses are making cutbacks,” reads the website for Big Lucks.  “Yet we find ourselves writing more than ever – if it’s through blog posts or status updates, our society cannot resist the urge to compose.”

No matter the country, there has long been more creative urge than there have been venues for its expression.  Want to be a novelist?  Tough luck, only a few get published, and even fewer make it to the top.  Artist?  Have fun working the all-weather art festival circuit.  And rather than weeding out the “bad” creative works, the exclusivity of the creative realm has resulted in limited opportunities for all the talent out there.

The internet has created scores of new journals, instant news reports (that don’t require paying for CNN or cable), internet TV shows and new venues for short films you’d never get a chance to see at your local Regal Cinemas (like those found on the often more dignified version of YouTube, Vimeo).  And while you probably shouldn’t get all your movie-intake from Vimeo, you’d have to admit you’re missing out on some things if you only ever watch the most popular films that come to the theaters.

It’s my belief that our generation is well on its way to mastering modern society’s print-and-internet, traditional-and-modern fusion.  You practice it every time you read a magazine in a doctor’s office waiting room, then go home to check your news online.  You might be dividing your time between reading a novel and keeping up with your friends’ posts on Facebook.  We need both, and the disconnect in traditional publishing media may be coming from the fact that, though the internet has readily found its niche in modern publishing culture, print media is still struggling to find ways to deal with its low-cost competition.

While it’s true that bookshelves can’t compete with the variety of thoughts and materials that can be found on the internet, and, conversely, there are varying (or no) standards for much of the media on the internet, the truth is we really need both print and online media to round out our creative aptitudes and appetites, and global culture will suffer if we come to rely exclusively on one over the other.

The two types of publications we now have to choose from are far more complementary than most people realize.  Rather than having them butt heads with one another, it’s best that they embrace their differences and built on them, recognizing once and for all that both resources have something important to offer modern culture and society.

–Keito, The Editor
November 1, 2009

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