Last week, Le Monde newspaper organized a conference-debate on the theme "Paper planet and digital meteorite". The conference was hosted by the Société des lecteurs du Monde in the person of its President, Christian Martin, in partnership with the association Paper culture and its President, Laurent de Gaulle.
Culture Papier is an association whose priorities are the fight against preconceived ideas affecting paper, the valorisation of paper and its complementarity with digital media, and the development of responsible practices and uses of paper and print.
Laurent de Gaulle considers the digital all-connected in its instantaneity, even without waves, nor internet connection, as a constant pollution, without reflection. Whereas the paper medium favours and nourishes more precise, well-processed information, generating more innovative thinking, away from this pollution of information all around. "Paper is not obsolete. The paper sector has always questioned itself in order to carry out research and innovation. The problem today is that it has to show that it exists and it has to do it faster than before. Moreover, from an economic point of view, paper is one of the most renewable, recyclable and perfectly controlled raw materials in France. The paper industry is very complementary to digital because it serves all the fundamental interests in order to think together about a fully human future, which is completely innovative but which will have to juggle with digital as a complementary tool. This is how our printing plants in France operate. »
With this profusion of information available on the Internet, doesn't this require a review of the problems of prioritizing this information, "informing it well"? Do we need new codes with digital versus paper?
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Serge Michel, Deputy Editorial Director of Le Monde, replies: "The Le Monde site is built in the hierarchy of the newspaper's front page, according to the subjects we believe in. It's a dynamic process because the site is built and evolves over the course of the day. The summary remains online for an average of 30 minutes and is constantly renewed and updated. (This is not the case on other sites, such as Le Figaro, where there is a constant flow of information where all the subjects are mixed). It is a different experience from that of the newspaper. Nevertheless, there are subjects that will provoke a high readership rate and we still tend to link them together. But there is always a consistency of decision between the different editorial offices around the world.
The other great advantage of digital information is the multiplication of information. On the Le Monde site, for example, archiving services are offered: the golden age of the press, where readers cut out articles of interest to them and filed them in paper folders, is over; now this service is directly online. In this respect, all the archives of Le Monde since its creation in 1945 are being digitized and will be put online around March or April 2012. For the teams of the newspaper's two editorial offices, this will be a very fine tribute to all the newspaper's editors.
The internet also makes it possible to send an article to hundreds of other readers, and by extension to social networks and to share information worldwide.
Would paper live only thanks to digital technology?
Raymond Redding, CEO of the Nouveaux Débats publics publishing house and author of "L'écrit fait de la résistance" is astonished: "I'm rather inclined to think that paper feeds the digital. If there were no paper, there would be no digital. »
Philippe Jannet, CEO of the interactive world, replies: "I think that if there were no digital, there would be less paper. Digital has become the primary source of paper newspaper subscriptions. The financial margin of digital is greater than that of the newspaper. »
But the paper hasn't finished surprising! What medium promotes the sharing of information with such emotion? It is still the ideal medium for our intellectual and cultural exchanges... It offers moments of freedom, escape and pleasure: nothing can replace the special emotion of opening a letter, reading a handwritten letter or a book.
So, why not "increase" these pleasures by combining paper and digital? With SmartPaperAny document, text, pictorial work, product or object becomes digital; without adding tags, QR Codes or other artifice. Seize the power of creativity and participate in the paper revolution!
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