Print Or Digital in a Student's World
As new online media forms are created, print media struggles to stay afloat. Having only read the New York Times in print for a few months, I am no expert and I can only present my experiences as reasons for why print is a better medium. Four months ago I would have told you that I would prefer reading a newspaper digitally. I have been living immersed in technology for practically my whole life and have been constantly told of its advantages. However, just a couple of months with a real newspaper and I see many advantages to reading print, especially for a student. One of the biggest complaints about reading from screens is that your eyes get tired. Reading from print not only does not have this problem but it also increases retention and comprehension. Also, for a student reading in print is a much more portable option. Though it may be falling out of style, print is the better medium.
[The image to your left is from The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food, online.]
Everyone has experienced sore eyes from staring at a screen too long. As a student living in this day and age, it is rare when I find time away from a screen. Everything we do is on a computer. We use them to study, to do work, and also to have fun. Recently we have even begun reading our textbooks electronically. After a while my eyes just glaze over and I often catch myself just staring at the screen without actually reading anything. Reading in print, on the other hand, is not as harsh on the eyes. I could read the paper all day in print but could probably only stand a few hours digitally.
As a student, retention and comprehension are important to our success. A big complaint about newspapers is the fact that the stories are often split and you have to go searching for the rest inside the paper. Many people find this tedious. I, however, feel that it makes me think about the story more. I have to pause, remember what I just read, find the rest of the story, and continue reading. This is especially helpful with very long stories. In digial formats, the story would be all together and I would read it in one long, scrolling sweep. Without that short pause I often cannot remember the middle portion of an article. That short time when I look for the rest of the story gives me a few seconds of reflection that increase my retention. As a student, one of the worst feelings is having just finished a long piece of work and realizing that I have no idea what I just read.
Nevertheless, many people prefer digital newspapers because they claim they are a more portable option. This might be true for people who have tablets or E-readers but others, specifically students, often don’t have those appliances. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2012 only 23% of people ages 16-29 who read digital media use e-readers while 55% use laptops or desktops. Reading from your computer might be fine from home but taking it on the go, even if it is a laptop can often be inconvenient. As a commuter student, I prefer to leave my laptop at home because it is heavy and I don’t really need it for school. It also would be hard to read on public transportation, not to mention dangerous. On the other hand, a print paper is easy to carry around. It is also a lot easier to read on the train or a bus without having to worry about having it stolen. For a student print can be much more convenient.
Which would you rather use to read on the bus?
Being a student is pretty much my whole life. My world revolves around it. This is why I prefer print media to its digital counterparts. Print doesn’t make your eyes sore and I honestly already have enough screens in my life. A paper newspaper also helps me remember what I read because of the short, already in place, reflection areas. Most importantly, for a on the go commuter an actual paper can be a lot easier on my back and for a good in bus read. Though I fear that one day in print newspapers will disappear from the racks I will enjoy them while they last.