Print vs digital

Eleanor Young, executive editor at RIBA Journal, reveals how architects like to get their information

The print vs digital argument rages on, but are we looking at it in the right way? Why should the two be pitted against each other? Shouldn’t they work together to cover the many way we consume media?

Recent research has shown that across the wider construction industry the readership of print journals almost halved between 2015 and 2017. This could be a worrying statistic for users of print media.

For architects, however, print is still very much their preferred medium. In fact, 75% of architects stated that they read the hard copy of their preferred journal, a figure that has actually risen since 2015. Feedback from the annual RIBA member survey illustrates this: in 2017 the RIBA Journal was rated as the most valued RIBA membership benefit. For architects at least, print remains king. But let’s not dismiss the digital world just yet…  

While architects are reading through their hard copies, they often mix this with digital formats to inform their decisions and digest their news. Yes, 75% read on paper, but 55% of architects read both online and in print. This highlights the importance of covering both bases: creating content that’s engaging and informative in both formats. Each has their strengths. Use the medium of print to build interest and demonstrate expertise and knowledge, then look to use digital media for the more technical side of your business. And remember – tone and form will vary, so getting this right for your audience is critical.

What about fake news? This is a term often given to user-generated news and it is certainly on the rise. Posts on Facebook, Twitter, and even architects’ preferred platform LinkedIn can be infiltrated by content that may contain false claims and misinformation. Blogs, videos and images are often shared online and can go viral even without credible background, demonstrating both the advantages and dangers of social media.

The print-digital debate will continue. But for us, as a publication that serves a 28,000-strong architect audience, the lesson is that we need to cover all bases. Daily online publication and social media engagement are as essential as the beautiful printed magazines we post out to architects. We will continue to give our audience information that is credible, clear and informative. That they can trust. That’s something we’ve based our brand on for over 125 years and counting.

For more information on how RIBA Journal can help you reach architects, please contact our advertisement manager, Richard Tomlin: Richard.Tomlin@riba.org or +44 (0)20 7496 8329.