Print media vs Electronic media

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Media have always played a major role in our lives. In olden days, people carved stories on stones and temples. Today we have known a lot about those days by seeing the sculptures carved on such stones. With the invention of paper, it made it easier for people to know about the happenings around the world through newspapers, magazines, banners, posters, leaflets, pamphlets etc.

But now with the advent of electronic media like Radio, television, Internet, which have moving images, facilitate easy understanding; is it really the end of print media?

Why Electronic Media?

On an electronic media, screen glare, font size and website layout can seriously affect readability. Which of these is easier? Reading a 600 page novel on your laptop or holding the novel in hand and reading it while lying on your bed? If a person does not mind shelling out some money, he/she would choose the second option since LCDs hurt our eyes. But these days with the invention of e-book readers, even this problem does not exist. E-book readers like Kindle use paper-like ink display which makes it easier to read books and carry thousands of books everywhere you go. You can download a newspaper within seconds from the remotest corner of the world. If you do not want to spend money on these costly devices, you can still read news at your fingertips on your mobile phones, which almost every person can afford to buy these days. With the invention of Internet, a person in a different country can read news about his native country just by having an access to a computer or laptop. These days, people can listen to radio on even their mobile phones, thus making it easy to listen to them even while travelling.

There are chances that the paper can deteriorate with time and hence the records can get wiped out. Now that the storage is getting really cheap, it is easier to take multiple backups of data and thus archival is easier with an electronic media. Also with the usage of various search tools, it is easier to search for a file or image on a computer, than searching manually in cupboards. Information is available sitting at home to people, which they would previously find by browsing in a library. It is easier to grab people’s attention by showing them a visual or a video than dumping them with a lot of text and few still images. Not everyone can read print media and for such illiterate people, TV would be helpful.

Electronic media is more environment friendly – the lesser the paper used, the lesser the trees that are chopped off. It is faster than any other kind of media; for example, if there was an earthquake or a hurricane somewhere, you can instantly watch the damages caused by it on the Television within minutes. Live streaming has helped us in watching tennis/football matches taking place in a different country on TV. Anything that we watch on TV remains in our memory for a longer time. For example, we still remember Sachin’s ad on TV where he says “Boost is the secret of my energy”, but how many of us remember Boost’s ad that came in the local newspaper? These days anyone can open an account online and start blogging. This way people can use the electronic media to convey a message to hundreds and thousands of people easily. RSS feeds help us in keeping ourselves up to date with the information available of the net.

Electronic media these days includes these:

·         Social Networking sites where one can meet millions of people – FaceBook, MySpace, LinkedIn.

·         Information can also be shared via the phones through Twitter.

·         Sharing Audio/Video through YouTube, FaceBook.

·         Digital Photos can be shared using FlickR, Picasa, Facebook.

.         Various contests, polls, surveys, asking/answering questions, commenting on information on the Internet.

.         Searching and watching videos/news clips/interviews on Youtube.

Why Print Media?

The longevity of written media is much more than the electronic ones. It is the written media which has made history recordable and accurate. The age of an old manuscript found while digging a historical site gives information about the era in which it was written, which is not possible with electronic media. Print media is durable, whereas a small virus or a bug in the software can erase the most important data needed from a computer.

Anyone can anonymously post articles and raise their voices. It is difficult to track the real owner of an article. With electronic media, anyone can copy any piece of information and present it as his own; plagiarism is at its peak these days. There is no means to determine which of the two websites have authentic data. Rumors and lies circulate all over the Internet and hence the legitimacy of the information becomes questionable. The information provided by a newspaper is usually more authentic and genuine. TV is a very popular media these days but with so many channels available to watch, there are fewer chances of more people watching an advertisement or a show on a particular channel and hence there is no guarantee about viewership, whereas a family which subscribes to a newspaper would definitely go through it on a daily basis.

Electronic media depends mainly on electricity. In areas with frequent power cuts or in the rural areas, it is not a viable replacement for newspapers. Print media is easily accessible and widely read. Anyone can buy it since it is cheaper and available in the remotest of the villages. In a country like India, subscribing to newspapers is cheaper than taking an Internet connection. Print media is local to the city or the region and carries information about the local events like a play being screened in the town or an inter-school chess tournament. Even if you read a nice article online, what are the chances that you will store it and re-read? Searching for the article will take forever amidst the GBs of data that you have. I read Stanford commencement speech by Steve Jobs and I liked it so much that I took printout of it and kept it in my drawer, because I wanted to re-read later. It is easier to locate a piece of paper in your drawer than locate a file among the 120 GB data that you have on your hard disk. On TV, the quality of news is deteriorating these days because of the competition between the channels. They try to sensationalize the news unnecessarily in an attempt to increase viewership.

Even though both kinds of media have their own pros and cons, can we survive without any one of them? I don’t think so. When Tsunami attacked, I saw video clips on the TV. Watching the video of the destruction live is better than visualizing it with a few photos in newspaper. But I also read about it in detail in the next day’s newspapers. The newspapers had the information in greater detail, depth and also had images which were not shown on TV.  According to me, both types of media can exist simultaneously and neither of them will perish. These days many print media are also available in electronic forms. I used to read Indian newspapers online when I was in USA. But I also liked reading the local newspapers there which came in the print media format. Print media has been around from so many centuries and the reason why it has survived for so long is the reason why it will not die in the future. We must not compare these two forms of media as they both have their own importance.

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Image courtesy : Rumya, the Garfixis from Indiana Legends 🙂

100 thoughts on “Print media vs Electronic media

Add yours

    1. We must not compare these two forms of media as they both have their own importance – u summarized it all really well! Each is special in its own way and they complement each other if we know how to use them well 🙂


  1. Both print and electronic media have their advantages and disadvantages.. convenience matters at times and at times comfort.
    I just wonder whether electronic media is really environmental friendly. Well, it does not require trees to be cut.. but what about use of electricity, carbon emission etc.?


    1. Thanks Aativas. You are right.. electronic media is not environment friendly.. but compared to print media, it feel it is better. e.g: reading a 2 page document on your computer is much better than taking 10 copies of printouts of it and wasting paper.


  2. Good luck on the contest.

    And you’re so right. They’re both unique. And that the print media held on so long, even after decades of the e-media’s birth, says volumes about its strength too!


  3. Oh yes both forms are important , i am old school so for me print media will always be important.. nothing beats having a cup of tea and reading the paper in morning…

    great post.. All the best


  4. Good debate. But u forgot to add one part. Print (newspaper) media is fast dying in the west, only to be replaced by online media. India does not have that kind of internet penetration rates, besides with increasing literacy levels we have more ppl actually buying newspapers. Interesting angle, dont u think? 🙂


    1. Yep true Ash. Thanks 🙂
      Actually I wouldnt agree with print media dying in the west. Because I have seen more people reading newspapers and magazines there, than in India actually. They are trying to reduce paper media for environmental reasons. These e-book readers are really not comparable to a book in any manner.


  5. dont tell me about paper records getting lost !

    I had to run around like crazy for my birth certificate coz I’d not had the sense to take a scan initially … .same with my college transcript … awful .. !

    but on the other hanbd , novels — i’d prefer to have a book rather than a pdf etc … but a lot of my fav comics are no longer available in book form 😦 😦


    1. Thanks Deepa 🙂 I have seen such things happen to me too. I usually email myself anything important that I dont want to lose for the same reason!
      Even I prefer reading novels in the book form rather than pdf.


  6. 🙂

    Exactly. Every form of media has its own advantages. We should not discard off one in comparison with another. Wonderfully written. 🙂

    Just remembered a joke from my comics-days, where a teacher asks a student about the advantages of newspapers over television. “Well, you can’t wrap fish and shoes in a television, can you ?” replied the student. 😀 😛


  7. i’m a big fan of newspapers….though i hate magazines…….but newspaper….i take out at least an hour of my day to read the newspaper….and espeically the important things….i credit newspaper for my knowledge of whatever is happening around in the world around me……

    though E-media…i’m not a big fan of it….but yes…RSS or reading blog is one of my addictions….and i certainly thanks E-media, if blog counts to be in the same category, for bring this to me….


    1. Yep true.. But I like reading magazines though – the technical ones because they are interesting and the other ones just for gossip 🙂 Even I prefer books to E-media anyday! 🙂


  8. I like the print media because I don’t like relying on the electricity. However, I like the electronic media too because I like watching movies, blogging and of course, chatting. 🙂

    Nice post! Liked your take on both the medias. 🙂


  9. Well done Ava!!! 😀 You’ve put the views and counter-views in a beautiful way and it keeps one reading!!
    Both kinds of media are well balanced and in my personal view, both are essential and hold their own place for the user.
    Raiders keep Rocking!! 😀


  10. Wonderfully written AK… 🙂 🙂 Given the pros and cons and also as you have said they are going to co-exists for the time to come 🙂 🙂

    And yes… We are competing again… 🙂 🙂


  11. you covered all important points in the post.. it was short perhaps.. but u did it justice Ava..

    all the best for BPL..
    you made us Raiders proud! 🙂


  12. Salutation webmaster can I use some of the info from this post if I provide a link back to your website?


  13. Nice post 🙂 As always all angles covered.

    Btw, I’ve heard so much about Kindle but somehow it can never replace the joy I get of reading a handheld book!! Whatsay ?!


    1. Thanks girlie 🙂
      I had bought one e-book reader and I dont feel like reading on it. All of them are like that. Mine is lying in some corner. Now I buy books and read 🙂 You can never replace that joy for sure!


  14. printing media is widely used in reading news & used any time. we can use paper in many ways but this is time wasting & wasting paper. i like e-medea because it is fast & we can use it many ways such that watch tv, playing games, online thousand works


  15. i have read the article and it was very interesting. i hope that you would write about the current situation of both media. opportunities, threats & its future. 🙂


  16. i think electronic media is quitbetter than print media. Bcoz atleast blind person can listen the voice of electronic media(T.V. and F.M.)


  17. Thanks to u… will help me to submit my project on time….nice article…no…awesome article. !!!!print media is mainstream,but electronic media is modern age gifti think print media and electronic media both have their own importance ….so thats why i like both.


  18. this topics help me a lot that may be i wll perform so much well in a debit conversation.tnanks you all.


  19. thanks you hell saved me , tomorrow having final paper, n this essay is expected to come,,, thanks for giving us idea, how to write essay on this booring topic


  20. this is so interesting. am so happy i got just what i was looking for as i prepare for my end of semester exams. kudos


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