What is print media?

Digital media have emerged as a revolution and have become an avalanche of information available to anyone with a computer, laptop or smartphone. The immediate access to information and efficient distribution of the content has been the secret of its success.

However, the print media have managed to maintain their power, especially after the fake news scandal that affected social networks. And it is that, although a blogger or influencer now has a voice – and a platform that spreads it – the function of print media is to impartially inform and, in some cases, publish offers, discounts and business press releases to comply with advertising commitments.

What are the print media?

The printed communication media are physical formats in black and white or color through which news, opinion articles, advertising, scientific research and events that are of general interest are distributed. In this case, the form of distribution of the information is given in physical format, that is, printed and is commonly called the written press.

The beginning of the print media dates back to the 15th century with the invention of the printing press, but it became popular in the 19th century and maintained its power until the 2000s. From the launch of the Internet – and as technology became more accessible and economic – the print media have detected a decline in consumers, but they still continue to hold an important place in the consumption of information, especially after the scandal of the Donald Trump and Cambridge Analytical elections.

Characteristics of print media

The printed communication media are divided, according to their nature or function, into two types: advertising media and information media. The main characteristics of print media are summarized in the following:
They are of massive distribution. What is sought is that the largest number of people access the information

  • They use different types of paper, sizes and finishes. Magazines prefer high-quality glossy paper while the press uses porous surfaces to lower prices for prints.
  • They are divided into sections. Like web pages -which have a navigation menu- the printed media have sections of national and international interest, events, economics, etc. Some – like magazines – focus on fashion, beauty and entertainment.
  • They also have an online presence. Most print media have an official website so their readers can access content from their handheld devices.
  • The cost of the copy only covers the costs of production and distribution. The income of the printed media – as happens with blogs – comes from advertising contracted by third parties.
  • The texts of the printed media are – mostly – written by experts and specialists. They hire investigative journalists or fashion consultants, do interviews, etc. There are also scientific journals whose texts are written by doctors, therapists, oncologists, among others.

Types of print media

There are different formats of print media. They are divided according to the function or means of distribution and the most common are:

Newspapers, newspapers and seminars

Newspapers, journals and seminars are published on a daily or weekly basis. They can be black and white or color, and have magazine inserts and advertising brochures. The editors of the press deal with topics of general interest, such as local, national and international news; horoscopes; fashion; science; sports; entertainment; business and health.

Consumer, commercial or scientific magazines

Magazines are usually published in monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual issues and deal with a variety of topics. Some of them focus on a particular niche – like Cosmopolitan or Vogue – and others include technical content, like scientific journals.


Despite going unnoticed, billboards are also part of the print media. These are posters of different sizes located on the street, bus stations, shopping centers, highways, etc. Their main function is advertising and they deliver a message in images accompanied by short phrases. They can also be used in political campaigns or to inform the public of something important, such as the entry into force of a law or the responsible consumption of alcohol.

Flyers, posters and brochures

They are used by companies to disseminate relevant information about their mission, vision and values. They can contain discounts and offers, events, news related to the company, new launches, etc.