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Newspapers v Magazines – A Difference in Printing

It has been a difficult year for journalism with the phone hacking scandals and the Leveson inquiry leaving readers wondering how they can trust newspapers. In many cases this has caused newspaper circulation to drop. In fact, in December 2011, every daily newspaper’s circulation had fallen by at least 4% compared to the year before, some by nearly as much as 18%.

However, some people think this is because products such as the iPad and the Kindle mean that people can now access newspapers in a new format. Some people simply read the news online. This is not the same for magazines, where less than 1% of sales are digital editions. It is only recently that the internet has had an impact on news consumption. Previously, the printing and distribution process and consumption process was very different.

Most magazines and newspapers are now printed using a digital printing press. This is because the pages of newspapers and magazines are designed on computers using design software and these designs can be sent straight to the digital printing press. A digital printing press is faster than the printing presses of the past because of technological advances. They are less likely to jam and cause a break in production. Broadsheet newspapers are often printed on a wide format printing machine as they can handle bigger sheets of paper. Using a wide format printer for larger sheets means that the printer should not jam and will be able to print large sheets to a level of high quality.

Magazines are printed in a different manner. The pages are glossy and in full colour so readers can appreciate photographs and so that the magazine itself lasts longer. Hot foil printing has sometimes been used on the binding of magazines to keep them sturdy and make them even more durable. When people buy a magazine they usually want it to last at least a month, whereas newspapers are usually disposed of at the end of each day. Because of this period of usage the printing processes are very different. Weekly magazines are often not as sturdy as monthly magazines as they do not have to last as long.

Newspapers and magazines have always been printed in different ways and still are today, even if both use digital printing methods. However, the increase of digital sales, while it is still small in the magazine sector, could soon see a change in the way things are printed, especially if more people choose to have online digital subscriptions for a lower price.

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