Look for Reuter’s special edition magazine this summer during the Republican and Democratic national conventions in Philly and Cleveland.
What’s the next big thing in political reporting? According to Reuter’s, it’s print.
“From Facebook Live to short e-newsletters to Snapchat and VR, media companies seem to constantly be looking for the next best thing to get their content out there and engage audiences,” writes Ellen Cools in Folio:. “So it may come as a surprise that Reuters is turning to print, announcing that it will launch a special edition magazine, The American Voter, for the upcoming Republican and Democratic National Conventions.”
Reuters’ Reg Chua explained to Folio: that “print allows us to do some things that we couldn’t otherwise do. It gives you that curated, very specific, finite experience, where you can look at information and stories.”
In an age when news happens in 140 character bits and live video streams can set off a nationwide response, the idea of a curated, finite experience may be exactly what the American voter needs. Studies have found that printed material is better at helping us understand abstract concepts and employ critical thinking, certainly much needed in an election cycle that runs on sound bites and half-formed arguments. As the conventions play out in this divisive time for our country, the idea of a print magazine from a trusted source like Reuters has a lot going for it.
It’s not the first foray into special edition titles for Reuters and its parent company, Thomson Reuters, Cools notes, “as it printed magazines for the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos and the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival.”
“The fact of the matter is that we’re not a magazine business — the magazine will never be a huge part of our business,” Chua told Cools. “But it’s a place where we can stamp our knowledge of the election process, our coverage, things we’re very proud of, and get it out to an audience. To some extent, that’s a branding and positioning exercise.”
“As part of that exercise, he says the company hopes The American Voter will be timeless — a source of information that people can turn to not only during the conventions, but also up until the elections in November, and a historical piece thereafter,” explained Cools.
As news organizations adapt to the changing way we consume news, the concept of special edition printed magazines at key moments in time makes a lot of sense. Tangible, finite, curated and long-form, it might be just what we need to pause, reflect, and cast a truly informed vote in November.