The June 2011 issue of Two-Lane Livin includes: The Distractions of Nature; WV Aerobics; Getting Motivated; Killer Garlic; Star Light, Star Bright; What Triggers Your Emotions; Making Your Food Budget Go Farther; In Pursuit of the Muskie; Kitchen Religion; Non-Foods; Your Ghee Tastes Terrific; Skincare 101 and more
WHAT IS THAT THING ANYWAY?
I think several of our older readers will be wondering that as they read the upcoming issue of Two-Lane Livin’ Magazine. But there’s no doubt that QR Codes will become more and more prominent in print publications.
A Quick Response Code (aka QR code) is a mobile phone readable barcode. Think, “print based hypertext link” – simply encode a URL into the QR Code and then point a mobile phone (or other camera-enabled mobile) at it. If the device has had QR Code decoding software installed on it, it will go straight to that URL.
But it doesn’t stop there – a QR Code can also contain a phone number, an SMS message, e-mail address, paypal checkout or simple text message, and the scanning device responds by opening the correct application to handle the encoded data appropriately.
Two-Lane Livin’ now offers QR Code services to our advertising clients. We hope readers with capable mobile devices enjoy them.
To learn more about using QR Codes in your print marketing and advertising, call 304-354-9132.
I was recently advising a new newspaper publisher about the world of small town news. I realized, halfway through my ranting that I was angry, bitter, and cynical.
It wasn’t always like that.
* * *
Several times in my young life, I was fortunate enough to visit Disney World — The Magic Kingdom itself. And it was magic. Even into my teen years, the magic caught hold, and fun was the inevitable result.
In my adult years however, I returned to The Magic Kingdom with a friend who had an administrative job there, and I got to see behind the magic…
… And the magic was gone.
Sure, I still love cartoons, Mickey, Goofy – the whole crew. But for me, the Magic Kingdom is magic no more.
Being a small town reporter was a similar experience for me.
You see, I believed the magic. I believed in the system, and how it should work. I believe in strong, local, principled government, and how it should work. I believe in the goodness of good people, and that most people are mostly good.
And for the most part — much of that lies true.
Who would have imagined that an officer would take advantage of his power? That a council would cheat? That commissioners steal spam and the justice system fails and that people want to get angry about a problem, but they don’t want to fix it? Embezzlers, fraud, hidden agendas, prejudice, lies….
I didn’t want to know these things. Though some folks may never believe it, I didn’t SEEK this knowledge out. I simply PAID ATTENTION.
And bit by bit — everything lost it’s magic.
Of course it doesn’t help when you’re also harassed on the internet, stalked by a psychopath, embraced by other psychopaths — in addition to the complications of the knowledge you process, what to tell, what not to tell – what really of all the mess is the public’s best interest to know.
It was a burden, and the magic was lost.
I was disillusioned, and now I’m cynical. And even after more than two years has passed, I maintain my cynicism, but not because I want to. See, on a regular basis, I give the “establishment” a chance to magically work as it should. I give the “system” a new opportunity to regain my faith.
It hasn’t yet, but I doubt if I ever stop trying. I don’t WANT to be cynical. I just have my doubts now. I can’t help it.
So, I let the world do whatever it does, and I do my thing. Many in this world think I’m a member of CalPatty Press. I’m not. Many in this world think I’m a good for nothing loser. I’m not. Many think I’m a mature, responsible adult. I think that gives me wayyyy too much credit. Many think I’ve got it all together. I don’t. My mother thinks I’m the smartest kid in school – sometimes I’m prone to agree with her, but I can’t seem to convince any one else.
Some folks think I’m odd – - and, maybe so. But I’ve come to find that most people are odd in some strange way.
I just don’t want to know the details.
I want the magic back.
That’s why we launched Two-Lane Livin’. That’s why we turned our focus on self-reliance, good feelings, healthy lifestyles. Anyone who plants a seed in spring and bites into a resulting tomato in fall knows — it’s magic. Anyone who has chickens knows that more eggs appear each day — like magic. Bread rises, garlic heals, and the knowledge that you can sustain yourself is liberating – renewing – uplifting. It’s magic.
Talk to me about gardens, chickens, herbs, vegetables, bees, worms, or the weather — and I’m happy go lucky. Ask me about media, government, justice, politics and I’ll swing to the cynical side. It’s simply the world now, as I see it.
I’m a work in progress, like anyone else. And right now, my focus is finding that magic. Until then, I might appear a little cynical. That’s the downfall of being a realist. It’s easy to spy the cracks in the system, and hard to find the magic.
But I keep looking.
I’ve been reading about Plastic Logic’s flex screen e-reader that is being touted as the future of newspapers. As a person who prints a monthly magazine on newsprint, I am rather fascinated by this development.
A flexible screen you can roll up and put in your purse or case, automatically updated with “e-reader” versions of your favorite newspaper (or magazine), the yet-unnamed device from Plastic Logic is touted to remove the need (and cost) of paper and delivery for the ink and paper bound publications of today.
Reader owners can subscribe to the e-reader version, which could be laid out like a printed paper – which a web site, in all layout basics, really cannot.
It may (or may not) have the same information as the printed version, the blog version, the web version of that publication.
They make it sound like the “instant answer” to the plight of print publications in this day of free information.
They haven’t yet announced the cost of this unnamed device yet either.
Newpapers, more than magazines, have had a hard time adjusting to “free information” outlets like blogs and web sites. They struggled to get on board. Then, along came pod casts and twitter and facebook and other venues of virtual publishing, outlets most newspapers have yet to acknowledge.
And now, there’s another virtual publishing device, likely requiring different programs, different rules, different training, different staff — unless, somehow, it can be a gathering of all the others, or a piece of all the others.
For example: The e-reader-for-a-fee version could include the print version, plus any extra follow up, corrections or details included in a related blog entry or twitter entry. Or, the e-reader-free-version could be an extra feature on a for-a-fee web site, which also includes links to free podcasts…
I think you get the idea. For time yet to come, newspapers will need to keep at the forefront of technology to come up with, fund, and maintain an e-reader edition, while maintaining the web-edition (and all it’s side kicks), AND the print edition.
Technology is going to option us to death. Talk about spreading out too thin. First, the information within newspapers was devalued from “quality content worth paying for” to “free.” Then, the outlet for print became environmentally outdated and incredibly expensive to distribute. Then, everyone thought online papers would save them. And in a scramble to perhaps continue that dream, they began podcasting and video options and blogging and twittering and….
Sure, e-readers may be a sign of the beginning of the end of print publications, but it’s the very, very beginning. Web sites were toted as the beginning of the end fifteen years ago, then blogging, what – three years ago? And yet, 50% of our readers surveyed said they don’t have Internet access at home.
I think, eventually, it will all come full circle. Web sites, blogs, e-readers – they will eventually reveal and return the value to the print publication. Reading print will become a leisure activity again – reading for enjoyment, not to keep up, keep abreast, keep tuned in and up to date.
The demand for QUALITY content in print publications will increase again. Standards will be raised, and reset. The world will come to a point where ANYBODY can put out an e-newspaper – and thus, the virtual value will decrease to a point where people will come back around to a willingness to pay for something that isn’t regurjitated, relaxed ruled, consumer or advertising driven drivel.
They’ll be willing to pay for the content, that ISN’T the typical, digital information-overload of useless trivia they are bombarded with every day. And newspapers – print newspapers – will have to return to what they once were – professionals with a code of conduct and a specific purpose, for a specific, local audience.
You know, before newspapers became part of “THE MEDIA.”
How far can you open your mind before your brains fall out?
How long can a “newspaper” attempt to be what it’s not? (Non-paper).
An e-paper is NOT a newspaper. It doesn’t function the same, it doesn’t interact (or not) with the reader in the same way, it doesn’t communicate in the same lengths and ways.
Readers read e-papers differently than print papers. They’ll read longer articles in print that they won’t online. They LIKE to read back to front, front to back, not in an endlessly navigating circle of links that goes on, virtually, forever. They LIKE a beginning and an end, something in their mailbox, a fresh-ink paper off of the gas station counter. They LIKE having a tactile connection with a local character of written nature.
Readers are allowed to like the newspaper (in print), the web edition, the blog additions, the e-reader. They can like them all – and in most cases, don’t have to choose one over the other. They can have them all. But newspapers can’t BE them all.
A painter is a painter. A sketch artist is a sketch artist. A cartoonist is a cartoonist.
I think media’s true problem is that it’s trying to be the artist that practices and perfects, every publishing art. Newspapers have become publishers – not of one publication in print, but of up to five publications, in all different real and virtual venues and outlets. Each has it’s own design, purpose, nature, navigation and use, and each is used and appreciated differently by readers.
The mistake is assuming that print editions, e-editions, pod editions, blog editions — are all “newspapers.” Sure, the painter and cartoonist are both artists, but they are not the same.
Can you put a scratch-n-sniff in an e-version? Play games or eye-catching tricks with cut outs? Newspapers should perhaps play around with these features that can’t soon or easily be virtually accomplished.
Maybe, someday, the printed publication will be a thing of the past. But I don’t see it happening over night, and I don’t see this new development as the “saviour” of the newspaper world. Newspapers shouldn’t look to “be” something else for their solution. They really should take a look on being the best at what they should be, and could be.
Of course, I’m someone who owns more LP albums than CDs.
And I wouldn’t sell my albums for anything. The longer I have them, the more they’re worth.
And that’s one characteristic and virtual publication doesn’t have. Increasing value with age.
Newspapers our our history. Our recorder. They are the record of our births and marriages and deaths. Online, these notes are fleeting, dull, quickly shifted into online archives that fade into the vast virtual wilderness, if maintained to be freely accessible online at all.
A town’s life, a community’s life – is recorded within the pages of it’s newspapers, accessible to all, typically free of charge, no matter what their knowledge of technology (past, present or future). Do we really want the records of our history, of our lives – to become completely digital???
Before the Industrial Age, many “newspaper men” were actually Schribeners, men paid by a town or by service fee to record words with ink and paper. The letters inked by these men by candlelight are some of the only ways we have ever learned the history of a generation, or settlement, or strategic event in time.
If newspapers go virtual, who’s going to be responsible for backing up our history?
How far back do the online archives of your favorite e-newspaper go?
The development of the e-reader is exciting. The thought that the e-reader could replace the need or purpose of a “winning, fresh, search engine optimized, constantly advancing” etc. web site, in my mind, would be even better.
We’re am a print publication, and I’d love a virtual outlet that would let us be, virtual — but have virtually the same purpose and function. Then I could forget script and coding and podding and taggin and tubing and booking to “network” my web site.
We could all just admit we’re “periodicals” and forget about trying to be “fresh and constantly updating.” When we have a new edition, the reader device displays it if that’s what the person wants. In the meantime, we’ll not bother you. We’re a periodical. We know words like “trapped copy” and “column inch.” We’d rather keep to that, and not have to learn stuff like “twitter” and “cascade sheets” and “HTML.” Don’t worry, unless there’s a problem, we’ll not e-mail you, and we aren’t going to put a bunch of pop-ups in your face.
We never planned to have a web site that had to be updated every day, several times a day. We never intended to have a facebook group to maintain or planned to spend big bucks to keep our SEO up to date. We never knew we had to twitter and podcast and make digital notes every hour of the day to “be competetive.” We just wanted to put out a laid-back, regularly scheduled periodical – see ya next month.
Then, we wouldn’t need a web edition. Our web site could just have subscription instructions and links, Advertising instructions and links, About Us, and FAQ.Â Perhaps an occasional blog entry or posted announcement.
Yeah. If the e-reader can do that, I can’t wait.
E-editions are like fish. After three days, they’re done. Outdated, behind. Gotta have something new.
Periodicals record history. They include summations, lessons, sentimental connections – in a format that becomes the reader’s personal possession. A printed publication becomes their own.
I think only words, lessons, stories, information and tales worth the cost (financial and environmental) of the paper and ink should be printed. Toss the rest of the free information out there to the virtual world.
Perhaps, one day, it’ll come to that, and periodicals will be periodicals again.