Friday, February 3, 2012

Is Print Media Dead?

On my third trip to the washing machine today, I knocked over Joe's stack of agriculture publications. The glossy magazines featuring bull sales, the latest equipment, and seed advertisements as well as the newsprint ones that offer more of a newspaper style periodical went tumbling to the floor. Nearly a quarter of my kitchen floor was riddled with pictures of cattle, folks in seed corn caps, and the Stockman's Supply.

Here are a few titles I picked up, just for fun:
Agri News
Iowa Farmer Weekly 
Silver Towne Farms
Prairie Farmer
Beyond the Bean
The Furrow
FarmWeek
Illinois  Beef
The Register
National Cattleman
SimTalk
Farm Journal
and some random animal supply catalogues, such as Stockman's Supply, Rancher's Supply and something about gates.

The sad thing is, there were multiple copies of each, and the counter on which I ran into is only about two feet long by six inches wide.

So, not only did it cause the crazy anal-retentive person in me to pile all the periodicals into dated, post-it noted, can-we-please-throw-these-away-so-I-can-get-to-the-laundry-room-unscathed piles, it caused me, the blogger, the cyber-writer, the UNPAID, to beg the question of the minute:

"Isn't print media supposed to be dead?"

My sweet friend Holly is screaming, "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!" as are all the other paid, printed and proper ag-journalists, and while I sit here, lowly and just a mere blogger, I have the power of the pen, just hypothetically. While I have nothing but self-imposed deadlines and personal expectations to work off of, I get excited when I am actually in print...even if it's just a hometown newspaper or one of the above mentioned publications, written by someone about me writing (seems redundant, don't you think?). Print media in agriculture is alive, and evidently thriving, based on not only the pile in my kitchen, but the daily arrivals in my mailbox.

The irony is, however, how often does my lovely, well-spoken, well-read husband get a minute to sit down and read aforementioned periodicals.

Answer: not since July of 2011, as evidenced today in the carnage in my kitchen.

However, in the age of blogs and cyber-digests, iPad apps and Facebook, why are there so many different ag publications?

My short answer is that many farmers need something to read in line at the grain elevator during the hauling months of the winter.

My long answer is that agriculture, although seemingly similar in its outcome, is like anything: it's multifaceted. Joe's periodicals seem to center around cattle, corn, and equipment. However, my dad's are a little different, and some times a swap will occur, a magazine marketplace, if you will. And, I know it's a shock, but while I get smarty about all the crazy titles of magazines my husband gets, I too can pore over magazines when give the opportunity, reading such favorites as Runner's World, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens from cover to cover and back again.

The difference is, I throw them away when I'm finished.

Hint, hint.

Anyway, newspapers may be going broke and simultaneously going digital, but I will tell you, the agriculture print business is alive and kicking.

Now, if only some one would give me a job...

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