I must admit that I am rather surprised how the ongoing CAD media debate has quickly become an online versus print debate. In an earlier post titled “Changing Times for the CAD Media” I used the term “traditional press” to describe the people I thought were being sidelined by CAD vendors. If you read that post carefully, I said absolutely nothing specific to “print” media. In his recent post “Make the Call – Is the Old CAD Press Dead?” Roopinder Tara made a shielded reference to what I said. He also made a reference to a “CAD journalist who turned on his own”. This CAD journalist is Al Dean, the editor of DEVELOP 3D, a magazine that I absolutely love and look forward to every month. Roopinder was referring to this post on the DEVELOP 3D blog wherein he wondered why members of the CAD press were making a big noise about not getting exclusivity to news about new software releases when they were not ready to take the trouble of signing up for beta programs and trying out the software themselves, which is exactly that bloggers do. Again Al was not referring to the print media.
But the comments on Roopinder’s blog suggest otherwise. Editors from print magazines like Cadalyst and Machine Design are busy commenting and trying to make the case that the print media is not dead and that there is place for them in an online world. I am not sure why the print media has got all paranoid about this. Maybe Roopinder’s statement “the last US CAD dedicated print magazine has stopped printing” set them off. Or maybe this one “the middlemen of publishing have been removed“.
I want to be very clear on something here. In an earlier post titled “Are Printed Publications Relevant in an Online World?” I clearly stated that the print media suck at giving news, but are no match to online publications when it comes to getting the completely and undivided attention of the reader. And that makes them invaluable to any company that wants to put its message across to current and prospective customers. What makes a publication relevant or irrelevant is the quality of its content.
My point is simple. If you have a print magazine and you sell your editorial and articles to the highest bidder, you are going down, if you haven’t already. If you are not an employee of a CAD vendor and have a blog whose content looks like that of a one, check your traffic statistics. If you have a newsletter and you keep spamming your readers with more ads and less original content your readership will quickly diminish. If you are a news aggregator and offer your readers no original content whatsoever, you had better start worrying about this wonderful thing called RSS. News aggregators are basically the middle men between writers and readers. RSS eliminates the need for them. If I like a writer I simply subscribe to his RSS feed. If I want to keep track of a certain topic I simply set up a Google alert.
Personally I believe that content is king, whatever be the medium that is used to deliver it. In this internet age there is so much information that readers decide which writers they will read, as opposed to earlier when writers decided what the readers would read. These days anyone capable of stringing a few words together (and willing to do so) is a writer. What matters is the value those words offer to the reader, not how and where they appear.