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Casey warns publishers not to get carried away over the shift to digital

Don't throw out the baby with the bath water. A well-worn cliche, but a message that delegates attending Magazines Ireland's Publishing 360 conference on how digital impacts on print could have taken back to the office.

While magazine publishers need to be active on the online front, major questions about returns from digital investments remain.

In a thank-you speech for being honoured with a lifetime achievement award, Harmonia chairman and broadcaster Norah Casey (inset) spoke passionately about the need for Irish publishers not to get carried away by the shift to digital.

Magazines are one thing and digital is something entirely different. There's undoubtedly an overlap, but each medium to its own.

Invited to talk about digital and what it can do for magazine publishers were a number of execs from online publishers. Adrian Acosta from The Journal.ie said news is a personalised and two-way experience that works better when it entertains. That doesn't mean dumbing everything down, but publishers must offer readers various levels of depth in news.

Daily Beast CEO Rhona Murphy said the news site bankrolled by media magnate Barry Diller provides content to young people who don't read print. Unlike The Huffington Post, the Beast's output is original and not recycled stories taken from other media sources.

RTE commercial director Willie O'Reilly said some digital investors appear to have more money than sense. The day will come when all the cash pumped into online will stop and it will be interesting to see who's left standing.

Both TheJournal.ie and the Daily Beast news sites have yet to report profits.