In the 1984 film Ghostbusters the late Harold Ramis’s character Dr Egon Spengler replied to the simple question, do you like to read books, with an even more simple answer “Print is Dead”. Three decades on was this answer a stark prophesy or a dry response from a socially awkward character?
It is important for those who practice Public Relations to consider this question, even the best PR campaign would be a failure if no-one gets to see it. This is a factor in why PR methods are fluid, constantly changing to best exploit the habits of readers. In the age of technology and the internet, is it a logical assumption that the best place to launch a PR campaign is the internet? The answer to this question heavily depends on the answer to the first.
Mark Hooper, of the Guardian, cited a 2012 survey that concluded that the majority of UK readers (88%) still prefer articles in their printed form as his argument against that iconic answer.
However, surveys will always come with a certain amount of bias, from the person conducting the survey as well as the person responding to it. While 88% of readers prefer to use print media, it does not necessarily mean that they do. One must look at the quantitative evidence rather than evidence based on opinions. The quantitative evidence tells us that year-on-year; in the UK sales are on average falling by 10%.
From this you can conclude that while print may not be dead yet, its illness is terminal, and its only a matter of time!
Combining this realisation with the ever increasing use and reach of the internet, in particular social networks its is my opinion that the main thrust of a PR campaign should now be focused toward the internet rather than print media. If PR campaigns are posted up on different social networking sites, more people will talk about them and the campaigns will spread further and faster!
Katie Goyen, University College of Birmingham, 1st year BA event management