This year marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the digital publishing revolution. From the very first entry into Project Gutenberg‘s database of electronic, freely-accessible documents, digital publishing was born. The space has come a heck of a long way since that first entry and in the first episode of this miniseries we explored the history of blogging, the current era of digital publishing, industry software options, as well as platforms that transform content from being produced in a vacuum to collaborative co-creation. This is The Digital re:Publish Project.
I want to preface this second episode by saying that while a number of the ideas contained within may allude to the fact that printing is no longer relevant, that’s not the message here. The printing industry is such a huge, multifaceted space that represents billions of dollars to the economy every year. Printed Newspapers and books represent a relatively small sub-section of the industry as a whole and while the prevalence of digital publishing is steadily increasing, it represents a small subsection of publishing as a whole.
Both digital and printed publications have pros and cons. Both play a role in our everyday lives. Both are important. Just like any industry, the graphic communications industry, that includes printing, is shifting and morphing and evolving. Until we can package our breakfast cereals inside of an iPad, printing has a necessary and promising future.
Let’s hear from four more creative minds who will help us better understand how digital publishing can and has evolved through leveraging technology. First, Celaia will invite us to consider the prevalence and possibilities in embracing ‘remix culture’ through harnessing digitally available works. Next, Stephen will explain how continuous publication, fuelled by the constant hum of information provided via social media platforms, is reshaping the digital news landscape. Bronwyn will help us understand the concept of paywalls. And finally, Dominique will speak to the importance of, and opportunities for, incorporating accessibility and user interaction in the digital publishing landscape.
Let’s do this, Celaia!
Celaia Gonzalez explains remix culture.
Copy, transform, combine. We are all interwoven into the fabric of creativity; ideas merging and converging, dissolving and evolving. Remix culture is a powerful and ever-present idea. In fact, the defining and refining of the concept of remix culture was likely a remix itself. Thank you Celaia.
With so many great ideas floating around in the world, ready for us to remix and put our own spin on before re-releasing them into the wild, are there any rules about when content can be published? While traditional publishing schedules and editorial calendars of yesteryear would have us believe that there is a black and white, right and wrong schedule to publish content, Stephen has us thinking in greys and believing otherwise.
Stephen Fernandes speaks about continuous publication.
In a world where speed equals relevancy it makes a lot of sense that continuous publication, powered by digital technologies, tools and techniques, it’s breaking down preconceived ideas of when publishing happens. Thank you Stephen.
While lots of up-to-date information exists online and is published continuously, will readers pay for it? What is a paywall and in what situations will readers fork over hard earned cash for digital content and in what situations will they not? Please enlighten us, Bronwyn.
Bronwyn James tells us about paywalls.
Free content, indeed. With an overwhelming amount of excellent, relevant, up-to-date, free information available on the Internet (this podcast included!) it’s no wonder that many users don’t see the value in paying for similar content. This is a bigger topic that we don’t have time for here and now but this discussion begs the question as to whether or not the free vs. paid content is actually similar. For example, amidst an era of ‘fake news’, The Atlantic magazine ramped up their fact-checking efforts, which is one of the factors they say contributed to their unprecedented rise in digital subscriptions in 2020. Quality, fact-checked content aside, digital publishers who wish to get readers to pay for content (versus having advertisers pay and/or rely on other revenue streams), must determine, specifically, what their readership believes adds value above and beyond the available free content. Print may very well be part of that strategy. Thank you, Bronwyn.
As the amount of content available grows, so does the audience who will read and take in this content. This means that more care must be taken as to how accessible documents are that are published online. Accessible design is good design and benefits all readers. Furthermore, there are new and interesting ways in which users can have their voices heard within a traditionally static digital publishing world. Talk to us, Dominique.
Dominique helps us understand accessibility and user interaction in digital publishing.
Accessibility must be considered to be more than simply an add-on. To improve both the quality of content and that content’s reach, creators must build accessibility into their digitally published works. Furthermore, there are so many interesting and unique ways to imagine greater interaction among users, as well as between readers and the publisher and even with the authors themselves. Whether through leveraging current social sharing technologies or creating new ones, the possibilities are exciting. Thank you, Dominique.
And thank you to all of our contributors to this episode, Celaia, Stephen, Bronwyn and Dominique for sharing your ideas. There are so many exciting possibilities surrounding what we can create, share and build with the world through connecting our digitally published works with one another.
We’ll soon be releasing our final episode in the mini-series featuring four more creative minds who will teach us about what’s near, new and next in digital publishing. The power of the PDF, the prominence of virtual education, the predilection for NFTs and the possibilities of AI in digital publishing will all be explored. Stay tuned...
Meet Our Team:
Celaia Gonzalez is a freelance graphic designer currently studying an undergraduate bachelor’s in technology for Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University. She is passionate about the print industry and runs a small cookie business in her spare time.
Stephen Fernandes is a student at the School of Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University. He is also a freelance graphic designer. You can find his work on Instagram @sfdesigns.
Bronwyn James is a student at the School of Graphic Communications at Ryerson University. She has a strong interest in Graphic Design and Digital Publishing.
Dominique Paul is an undergraduate student in the Graphic Communications Management Program at Ryerson University. As a content creator, Dominique is keen on engaging in discussions relevant to the Graphic Communications and Design industries.
Music (public domain via freesound.org):
Kesta - Still Room
Siddhartha Corsus - Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Bio Unit - Solitary
Kesta - Gentle Wave
Bio Unit - Lightning Bug
Talk Paper Scissors Theme Music:
Retro Quirky Upbeat Funk by Lewis Sound Production via Audio Jungle
Episode Cover Art: Canva