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Why Are Digital News Orgs Getting Into Print?

print magazinesIn a strange twist of events, popular digital news publishing orgs are starting to put out print magazines as an attempt to earn a revenue and increase brand awareness.

No, it’s not an Onion-type hoax. It’s a true story. Capital New York, a leading political and media news blog, was bought by Politico this fall, and the magazine is the first of many steps to increase — well, I don’t really know what.

According to AdAge, it’s part of Capital’s expansion after being bought by Politico. When you think Washington D.C. news, you think Politico. And they want you to think of Capital when you think of New York. Politico itself announced that it would publish a glossy six times a year and popular music site Pitchfork publishes a quarterly Pitchfork Review, available by subscription or for around $20 per issue.

A quarterly for a music website makes sense in terms of brand and scaling their product. Sort of like McSweeney’s. But Capital will print monthly, with current editors overseeing the content. The first run will have, again according to AdAge:

… a run of about 8,000 copies, the company said, with plans to distribute about 6,000 copies in Manhattan and 2,000 in Albany. Copies will be delivered to the state capitol building in Albany, City Hall in Manhattan and key individuals in the industries Capital New York covers, according to Roy Schwartz, chief revenue officer at Capital New York and Politico.

The magazine will be free, Mr. Schwartz added, with subscriptions available upon request to those who “qualify” based on their job title, job responsibilities, or other criteria.

Doesn’t it just sound like a very labor intensive marketing campaign?

I guess that’s why “digital first” is how we refer to pubs and not digital only. But I’d to find out how effective rags like this can really be in terms of brand engagement and advertising revenue.

Can it be worth the trouble or is this about leftover, hopeful thinking, that a print version will ever make a difference? Tweet your thoughts @10,000Words or share in the comments. 

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