Friday 3 March 2017 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 3/3/2017

The Monocle Minute

Image: Francesca Jones

The potency of print

“We shouldn’t conclude that there’s only a single path ahead for the future of print,” announced Alec Russell, editor of the FT Weekend, at the inaugural Monocle Media Summit in London yesterday. Despite what he described as a shocker of a year for newspapers in 2016, the FT Weekend’s readership has increased dramatically. The boost feeds a positive trend among established print titles: subscriber numbers are rising and that’s helping to offset a turbulent advertising and digital landscape. “Digital has not been the money tree that many had hoped for but digital subscribers have been incredibly important to us,” said Russell in the event’s first panel, titled ‘Is money still made of paper?’. Fellow panellist Olivier Royant, editor of Paris Match magazine – which has succeeded in maintaining its circulation while garnering legions of new followers via Snapchat – cited the importance of newsstands in keeping print a vibrant part of the world’s news offering. In turbulent times, whether it’s the Brexit vote or the forthcoming elections in France, the Netherlands and Germany, the “value of truth” as articulated in print is more potent than ever. “To discuss the decline of print, well, it’s more complicated than that,” said Royant. “We’re not dead – and we’re not in the hospice either.”

Image: Andrew Urwin

Still going strong

Despite years of chatter about the death of print, book sales have proved not only resilient in the face of digital media but even robust. While e-book sales in the US fell by as much as 34 per cent last year, according to figures published by the Association of American Publishers last week, print is popping. Publisher’s Weekly numbers show that print sales rose by 3.3 per cent in 2016, marking the third straight year of growth for the industry. But is this trend likely to continue? James Daunt thinks so. During a panel titled ‘The Book is Back’, the founder of Daunt Books and Waterstones’ managing director said that the bestselling genre of books in his shops were those written for young people, children and teenagers. “It’s the very people who are meant to be obsessed with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat who are actually going into a shop and buying a book.” So it seems that the book is not only back but it’s here to stay.

Image: Francesca Jones

Extraordinary stories

German prowess continues to show how real reporting and artful covers can still draw a growing readership to the printed page. “We live in a world of the same headlines and the same photographs – so take me to places that I don’t know about,” said Christoph Amend (pictured), editor in chief of Berlin-based Zeit-Magazin. “That always stuck in my mind for the kind of stories we want to tell.” Amend took the reins of the publication when the weekly relaunched in 2007 and has taken a print-focused approach to building each issue, including publishing an edition guest-edited by Jil Sander. “Everything we do – on social media or otherwise – has to go back to the magazine.”

Image: Alamy

Fighting for truth

While much of the journalism industry is sliding towards reliance on news agencies and desk reporting, at Monocle we’re positive that there is no substitute for the real thing. During the panel ‘The power of being present’ the BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet said that traditional journalism is as rewarding as leafing through a well-bound book. “The old classic journalism – there is no replacement.” All this despite the perils of reader ennui and Donald Trump dominating the headlines at the expense of other stories. While the BBC continues to operate more than 40 international bureaux, other news organisations have been cutting down. Yet everyone on the panel – including US conflict photojournalist Lynsey Addario – agreed that when battling for truth, it’s essential to have reporters on the ground.

The Monocle Daily

We get the highlights from the inaugural Monocle Media Summit, discuss new woes for Donald Trump’s attorney general and find out why the Norwegian state broadcaster has designed a comment filter to improve debate on its website. Plus: the deputy editor in chief of Stern magazine.

Monocle preview: March issue 2017

In honour of our 10th birthday, issue 101 has been given a full redesign and now features two brand-new sections, fresh features and crisp photography – not to mention a 64-page Portugal survey and a special reflection on a decade of Monocle. Join the party and buy your copy today.


sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle Radio

00:00 01:00