Thinking about Print: Computer Weekly’s print title ends
Found out today that Computer Weekly magazine – a UK business journal that ran for over 45 years – is being sold.
While the company’s web site operations will remain the shutter will close on the print publication.
I worked at the magazine for just over a year. Walking into the newsroom and on your immediate right was a framed press cutting of a UK paper talking about the moon landing (1966 – the same year the magazine launched).
The magazine was a product of its time and chronicled the modernisation of offices through the proliferation of computers.
It’s ironic that the continued proliferation of computers in the office, as well as the home, would ultimately give rise to the web-first preference for news, which itself has seen the end of print titles in general across the industry.
In Computer Weekly’s print title heyday, arguably the late nineties to 2000, it was a magazine that could not be beat.
I remember reading features that were so ahead of the curve in thought, so well presented and with top notch art direction, that even if you weren’t interested in computers you would come away after reading a four-page spread with an education.
Although hundreds of sites are now available to get news, I have seen none reproduce the quality of editorial Computer Weekly had in its print title.
The focus for web remains velocity and interaction, whereas the focus of the weekly print title was authority and thoughtfulness.
Are the two ideals at odds simply because one is on a web site and one is printed in ink? As news production goes, I’d argue yes.
Audience also must be considered.
Computer Weekly’s print readership were predominately over 40s. These were people who grew their careers alongside Computer Weekly and were likely into the habit of buying a daily newspaper.
But facing a next generation of readership who haven’t grown up with the title, and who don’t buy a newspaper habitually, will the online version of the title really be their first port of call?
Computers form so much of our lives these days and facilitate so much commerce that the closure of the print title leaves a vacuum that will only be filled by generic consumer electronic articles about the launch of the ipad 2 and facebook privacy scandals.
Visibility about the technology that runs our world slips back into the shadows and the end user goes on clicking the “Next” button at the install screen, unaware of how his silicon soul is being tampered with or by whom.