Why Reading is Better in Print

Print, it seems, better enables editors to perform an “agenda-setting function,” said Jack Shafer at Slate.com.

"I canceled my subscription to The New York Times a few years back," said Jack Shafer. "I wasn’t disappointed with the Gray Lady’s coverage; I just found it more convenient to get my news from the newspaper’s excellent website. But less than a year after my Times cancellation, I was paying for home delivery of the newspaper again. Despite spending ample time on the website, I failed to notice many worthy stories; I also found I couldn’t recall much of what I’d read."

“My anecdotal findings about print’s superiority have been backed up by a new study: Oregon University researchers found that readers of the Times’ print edition remembered significantly more stories, facts, and ideas than online news readers. Print, it seems, better enables editors to perform an agenda-setting function—the use of placement, prominence, and type size to signal what’s most important. When you read online, meanwhile, you’re frequently interrupted by intrusive ads and the need to click through to second and third pages. I’m no luddite, and I like the Web and the iPad. But for real reading satisfaction I still reach for the print editions. What do you think?

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