Printcasting: An Aside

Mary Lou Fulton of the Bakersfield Californian writes in the Media Shift Idea Lab about her excitement on their new “printcasting” service. It’s an interesting way to bridge the digital/print divide, by enabling community contributors, advertisers and publishers to quickly produce and circulate PDF newsletters on diverse topics.

I love anything that reinforces the value of print. Although even inspiration (excitement about the topic) — which Fulton correctly notes as vital for her project’s success — is not necessarily all that’s needed in a world of information glut. Because it’s soooo easy to publish anything on the Web, that perhaps the Taquito Times *shouldn’t* be printed out unless its worth being printed out. Contrariwise, maybe some things do best on the Web because of their more ephemeral nature.

In other words — quality and value to posterity drives the value of print. Profligate printcasting may only create more paper to be recycled. What you want is material that deserves to be printed out, that people will want to clip and hang on their wall or refrigerator, or put in their scrapbook or binder.

Print is a discipline — it must be, these days, otherwise it’s just more disposable advertising circulars. It’s easy to say that this is implicit. Yet it’s not implicit, and the judgment call as to what is quality can be tricky.

Fortunately, it’s the kind of issue that will come up organically, so I look forward to seeing what further innovation this spurs for Fulton’s ambitious project.

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