The power of the printed word

Posted

Ever since I was small, I always loved magazines.

Although my dad delivered part-time for the New York Daily News, which typically guaranteed a newspaper in the house, it was rare for us to buy, much less subscribe, to magazines. Our generous neighbor would insure that I could cut out pictures and words for my first grade "ABC" homework by setting her pile of recently read magazines at our apartment door like a monthly present from a guardian angel.

My life was complete with the latest Teen and Seventeen magazines later, as an adolescent, when my dad scored a job working at a newsstand on the Upper West Side.

I always loved the ads — the more the better — and I was so relieved to learn that you could still work in advertising and not be required to draw or design the layouts. I grew up reading Advertising Age with the hope I could end up working in this career. Then I commuted to college on Mondays at 3 p.m., rewarding myself with the purchase of the latest New York Magazine to read after those grueling philosophy class lectures.

In recent years, despite the insistence that print media is dead (and the irony that I am detailing that concept in print media), I still believe in the power of the written word and visual that is not digitally stored at some dotcom. I strongly believe that holding the publication in your fingertips and thumbing through its pages is as worthy as opening a brand new book and inhaling its printed smell. It may not have the immediacy of digital, it may not have the depth of digital's content, but full-page photos and dog-eared pages win (pardon the pun) hands down.

Given the kind donations of coworkers, I have been gathering up magazines in order to distribute them to my marketing students who must evaluate the headlines and pictures in our advertising classes. Yet nothing has helped to relive the feelings of my youth then on the days I have been able to bring a big bag of gossip and women's magazines to a resident in the assisted living center who has a lot of time on her hands. Her gratitude and joy, for pages of glossy paper and print is exactly the way I felt, while waiting for my life to really begin.

A contributing writer to the Herald since 2012, Lauren Lev is an East Meadow resident and a direct marketing/advertising executive who teaches advertising and marketing communications courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology/SUNY, LIU Post and SUNY Old Westbury.