When we printed our first typewritten newsletter in 1982, we never imagined that 30 years later, more than 200,000 people would be coming to us for information each month via our website. Though change can be hard sometimes, this change allowing us to reach so many more people was thrilling. With numerous questions about the future of the post office and increasing postage, as well as the common use of online communication, we recently asked readers for thoughts on whether we should switch to only publishing the Vegetarian Journal online. Thanks to those who shared their opinions with us. A selection of responses we received appears below. This is not for immediate action, but we are strategically preparing for the future. Feel free to share your thoughts by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling us at 410-366-8343, or posting a comment.
“I’d read either way and certainly understand your wish to be more ecologically responsible, but I would be sad if paper issues weren’t available as I always give mine to interested others.”
“There’s something to be said for flipping through a magazine, taking it with you, cutting out the good stuff. Please keep it on paper.”
“Our home has a computer system which I myself maintain and use … but I prefer reading from a book or magazine. A computer cannot replace its tactile quality.”
“I would prefer the online-only version, so thanks for considering it.”
“It is wonderful and I always read it cover to cover and refer back to it frequently. I just can’t do that with online material.”
“Each year we have your magazine available [at a booth at a city hall festival] it is always a hit.”
“I pass my copy along to coworkers and keep them in my waiting room and exam areas, exposing many non-vegetarian patients to your Journal.”
“An electronic copy can reach more people, can be readily accessed from multiple devices people are already carrying (iPads, Kindles, etc.), and is far cheaper to distribute. [...] The web site, blogs, and Facebook/Twitter feeds are already an important electronic version of VRG, so the Journal would be a natural extension.”
“I am very grateful for the years of dedicated and effective service you have given to the values of veganism. I am strongly opposed to an online-only version of Vegetarian Journal for the following reasons:
(1) Reading hard copy, illuminated by ambient light, stimulates more of the brain than the radiant images of the computer or other hand held
(2) Hard copy can be carried, is easily accessible, and can be stored.
(3) Given a computer uses electricity and is dependent on contaminating materials, an online version will not produce a smaller carbon footprint.
(4) Many people do not have access to a computer.
(5) There is a tactile and three dimensional visual experience generated by a hard copy magazine totally lacking in the abstract, one-dimensional, electronic version.
(6) I would like to see The Vegetarian Resource Group support print culture rather than electronic-digital culture. Digital culture encourages an ephemoral, non-reflective, fragmented way of being, which works against the deep values needed to support animal and human rights
If you would like to donate so we can give Vegetarian Journals out during tabling and conferences, please donate at http://www.vrg.org/donate and indicate in the comments that this is to give out print versions of Vegetarian Journal. $100 allows us to give out 100 copies. At a national dietetic conference, we can typically put 1,000 copies into the hands of dietitians. Thank you!