Dave Eggers on Future of Print

Dave Eggers, the author of the bestseller, "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius," thinks newspapers and magazines have younger fans, who are oftentimes overlooked when demise of the medium is predicted. In an interview with Salon.com he is optimistic:

"Our students at 826 Valencia still have a newspaper class, where we
print an actual newspaper, and we do magazine classes and anthologies
where they’re all printed on paper. That’s the main way we get them
motivated, that they know it’s going to be in print. It’s much harder
for us to motivate the students when they think it’s only going to be
on the Web.

The vast majority of students we work with read
newspapers and books, more so than I did at their age. And I don’t see
that dropping off. If anything the lack of faith comes from people our
age, where we just assume that it’s dead or dying. I think we’ve given
up a little too soon. We [i.e., McSweeney’s] have been working every
day on a prototype for a new newspaper, and a lot of what we’re doing
is resurrecting old things, like things from the last century that
newspapers used to do, in terms of really using the full luxury of the
broadsheet newspaper, with full color and all that space.

I think
newspapers shouldn’t try to compete directly with the Web, and should
do what they can do better, which may be long-form journalism and using
photos and art, and making connections with large-form graphics and
really enhancing the tactile experience of paper. You know, including a
full-color comic section, for example, which of course was standard in
newspapers years ago, when you’d have a full broadsheet Winsor McCay
comic. So we’ll have a big, full-color comic section, and we’re also
trying to emphasize what younger readers are looking for, what directly
appeals to them. It’s hard to find papers these days that really do
anything to appeal to anyone under 18, and the paper used to do that
all the time. I think there will always be — if not the same audience
and not as wide an audience — a dedicated audience that can keep print
journalism alive."

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