Print is dead, but print’s skills aren’t

“Trimming copy, optimizing graphics for smaller space, curating the day’s best content, and understanding the best typography to tell a story are as valuable when laying out print as when putting together a Snapchat Discover edition or tweet.”

Print is dead. Long live print.

carla-zanoniFor more than 20 years, a chorus of “digital first” has risen in newsrooms like a warning: Those who do not hear its calls will perish at the same pace as dwindling print newspaper sales. But with the rise of mobile and apps has come a print renaissance. Forget about the paper, it’s about the skills that go into print.

Print experts who are nimble enough to pivot to mobile will see that their skills are invaluable as we move toward publishing in smaller and smaller spaces, meant for an audience on the go — the same as with newspapers, the original mobile media.

Trimming copy, optimizing graphics for smaller space, curating the day’s best content, and understanding the best typography to tell a story are as valuable when laying out print as when putting together a Snapchat Discover edition or tweet.

The advent of digital left editors with an endless expanse of space to fill on the vast World Wide Web 24 hours a day. Although that space has facilitated award-winning journalism, it has also meant the cluttered digital palette of competing video, visuals, and words.

What happens in a post-Internet world where publishers deliver their news on platforms and messaging apps that offer text and design constraints as a selling point? How many things are we asking a reader to read?

As we move toward the answers for publishing on that tiny screen in our pockets, we must look to the wisdom of our inky colleagues.

Carla Zanoni is executive emerging media editor at The Wall Street Journal.

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