Next Magazine has ended its print edition after 28 years. The news was of particular interest to me as I had been among the various people who had participated in the creation of the magazine.
The first issue of the magazine came out in 1990, a time when the West had just witnessed the collapse of Soviet Union, end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The East, meanwhile, was still in the shadow of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
With Apple’s Macintosh system and new software like Postscript, Photoshop and Pagemaker, WYSIWYG technology was created, allowing users to view on the screen something very close to the end print result. That has changed the way of printing in media forever.
Instead of hiring me as a staff member, Next Magazine suggested that I be a contractor. That was how I got to start my first company. Through all these years, I have set up more than 20 firms. Some of them were very successful, while many also failed.
I keep telling my students don’t get too emotionally attached to the company you create. But it’s easier said than done.
Back to media business, we often say that content is the most important thing in news reporting. But the reality shows that presentation is also critical.
This is precisely how Next Magazine quickly became one of the city’s most popular magazines, as it used a large number of photos and innovative reporting to stand out from its peers.
Nowadays, technology has changed the way we read. Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat all have become major new channels of spreading information.
In this situation, print magazines find it hard to compete with the digital media platforms.
Now, I have the opportunity get involved in the media business again, this time through the introduction of Apps into the media world.
I still believe there is always a place for good news stories, although the way of reporting might have to change with the times again, like using more info graphs.
Currently, new media dominates the information world. But fake news is everywhere. As such, demand for genuine, quality reporting that can provide readers with added value should actually become bigger.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 23
Translation by Julie Zhu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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