Be Smart and Read WWJ

By Thad Plumley

I want to let you in on something—reading print publications makes you smarter.

Now, I’m sure you’re probably thinking, “Of course you say that, Thad! You’re the editor of Water Well Journal, a print publication that is 77 years old.”

That’s fair. As someone who is passionate about the publishing trade, I admit I’m extremely proud that WWJ is still a publication that is provided in print and for free to the groundwater industry. I may be known to brag about that on occasion.

But I’m also serious about the brainy stuff. And there’s science to back it up.

It’s called textual topography. It means someone who is reading a book or magazine is more likely to remember something better because they may recall where it was located on a page or how deep into the publication it was.

A study was conducted at the University of Stavanger in Europe, and the research showed plot points of a story read on paper are remembered better and facts are comprehended better than when read online.

It makes sense when you think about it. After all, it’s a lot easier to thumb back a few pages of a magazine than to hit the back button of a computer dozens of times. Plus, trying to find something a second time on a tablet or Kindle: forget about it.

I don’t want to sound anti-technology by any means. Making WWJ’s website a regular destination has been a goal for years and I’m happy it has become one. It is visited tens of thousands of times each month by those working every day in the industry. I’m also excited to announce it will have a fresh, new look soon, making it an even better resource for groundwater professionals.

Also debuting next year is the WWJ Industry Connected Podcast for those who like to get their information that way. Podcasts have exploded recently as a way to digest information for those constantly on the go. If that is you, we will soon have you covered.

There is an old saying in publishing that you write something once and use it many times. It means the research and interview a journalist does can be crafted into a long article, a news item, a blog post, a Q&A, etc. We have a similar philosophy at WWJ.

We have an award-winning print publication, a website, weekly emails, video interviews, and soon a podcast. All contain content featuring industry experts and are designed to help you be a better groundwater professional.

I use all that stuff too in my personal life. Hearing an expert talk or seeing a video of a new product in action is incredible. Truly, it has never been easier—or a more exciting time—to learn. However, when given a choice, I’m going to grab the magazine or book.

After all, it’s literally a smart decision.

Thad Plumley is the editor of WWJ and the director of publications for the National Ground Water Association. He is currently the secretary for the AM&P Network Associations Council Advisory Board. The AM&P Network is a national association for publishing professionals.. He can be reached at, or (800) 551-7379, ext. 1594.

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