|January 24, 2018|
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The Credibility of Print: An interview with Phil Riebel
Editor’s Note: This article appeared on the Domtar Newsroom website on January 9, 2018. See link at end of article.
While the digital revolution is changing the way people learn, work, pay and play, print is still a preferred choice for many aspects of American life. New research shows that the perception of information credibility increases with print, and that people find reading on paper more enjoyable than reading on digital devices.
In 2017, Two Sides North America commissioned a survey of more than 2,000 adults in the United States to find out how print and paper are viewed in a digital world. Two Sides is an independent nonprofit organization created to promote the sustainability of print and paper. Its members, including Domtar, span the print and paper value chain, including forestry, pulp, paper, inks and chemicals, pre-press, press, finishing, publishing, printing, envelopes and postal operators.
Phil Riebel, president of Two Sides North America, spoke about the survey’s key findings and explored how digital and print play complementary roles in the ways consumers live.
It appears that the print/digital divide seems to be related not just to age, but also the type of information someone is consuming. Why?
However, news consumption habits are changing and are also very age-related, with younger age groups preferring digital news to print. The frequency at which print magazines and newspapers are read also decreases with decreasing age, with younger respondents reading more digitally.
There is a clear preference for print when it comes to products like mailed statements from banks, utilities, etc., especially among older respondents. In fact, 76 percent said they are increasingly concerned that their personal digital information is at risk of being hacked, stolen, lost or damaged.
How are publishers reacting?
Seventy percent of respondents said they find online ads annoying and usually irrelevant, and 71 percent stated they do not pay attention to most online ads. On the print side, ad mail delivered to homes is read by 60 percent or more of respondents at least once per week, with 55 percent saying they would be more likely to take action after seeing an ad in a printed magazine or newspaper than if they saw it online.
There also are other opportunities for print. Compared to digital, print provides a more emotional connection with the reader, allowing a deeper understanding of and engagement with the written word. This is due to haptic feedback — the touch and feel of paper — and the fact that there is no artificial light or distracting pop-up notifications. This uncluttered aspect of print has value in our current world of endless digital information bombardment.
In terms of information credibility, how does the medium affect perception?
Overall, the results suggest that having a printed copy, whether it be a newspaper, an invoice or a health or financial record, is generally perceived to be a more secure and trusted way of receiving information than its digital counterpart.
Why do you think print increases the perception of information credibility?
Also, a hard copy of any document is in your control, and you can store it safely wherever you please. Digital files are at the mercy of your computer, servers, your backup drive—all of which can fail, as many of us have experienced.
Your survey touched on health concerns people have related to their use of digital media. What is the solution?
There is also a strong feeling among many people (67 percent) that it is important to switch off and enjoy a printed book or magazine.
I am seeing more and more research on the literacy and learning benefits of print on paper, and schools and other organizations are thinking twice before digitizing their classrooms. So, less screen time is not only healthier for us, but reading in print also can improve learning. This is definitely an area worth exploring further by our industry.
How does Two Sides raise awareness of security, sustainability, health, information credibility and other issues related to print and online publishing?
We have been actively using social media and infographics to highlight key study results. We encourage readers to share our posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Our survey report is available in print to anybody who requests it at [email protected], and the full report and U.S. results are available online.
Source: Domtar Newsroom, January 9, 2018
For a modest investment of $174, receive more than US$ 1000 in benefits in return.