Don’t look now: why print can still beat digital words

29 July 2019


When was the last time you actually finished reading an article on your phone? I don’t mean a short news piece about a politician with strange hair, or the World Cup (cricket or women’s soccer; your choice), or what one celebrity said about another celebrity—I mean a long, detailed article that takes more than a few moments to read, and which gives proper insight into a topic.


Talking from personal experience, I always have several interesting articles open in browser tabs on my phone, waiting to be read. Just looking now, there’s a piece on Solein, a protein-rich food source created out of electricity, water and air; a map showing the literal meaning of every country’s name; and an article on 19 great linguistic spats from history.

These tabs are all still open, though, because I’ve not finished—or in some cases, started—reading them. Why? Because they’re on my phone, and when I pick up my phone with some time to spare, I usually realise that there are messages I need to reply to, ‘life admin’ tasks to be completed, and, once I’ve dealt with the serious bits, like most people I reward myself with a quick browse through something less demanding, such as checking on sports scores or tinkering with my preseason Fantasy Football team.

With the printed word, though, it’s harder to ignore or forget about articles. A newspaper will sit on a coffee tables in a front room in plain sight, waiting to be picked up and browsed. Similarly, with magazines such as Hoist, having a hard copy makes a publication less disposable than journalism which is solely online. Articles get read more than once, either by the same person, if they’re particularly interested in a topic, or by different members of a company’s team as a magazine gets passed round an office or workshop. My sales colleagues will probably also thank me for pointing out that this also ensures multiple pairs of eyes see each advertisement, too.

These benefits of having a physical copy of a publication are part of the reason that the paper industry is still going strong, despite the rise of email and online journalism, catalogues, and beyond. And that’s been good news for the lifting industry, as you can read about in the feature on paper handling in this issue; the latest automation technology has really stepped up to the mark to meet customer demands.

On another topic, I was in Lyon last month, visiting a major French crane manfucturer—you’ll be able to read about that visit in a forthcoming issue of Hoist. Had I been there just a few days later, I could have tried to procure a ticket for the England vs USA football match in the semi-final of the Women’s World Cup. The tournament has been attracting widespread attention over here in the UK, and there’s a feeling that women’s football might finally be becoming more mainstream. In this issue we also have a news item on Konecranes partnering with the Women’s Engineering Society, to try to encourage more women into lifting and engineering. As with the football, if this means we have more of it, with the best talent being given a chance to shine, it can only be a good thing.