Are Macs or PCs Better for Journalists?
A lot of people wonder how the Mac became the preferred computer for creative types, such as those in the publishing world.
Most newspapers and magazines will use Macintosh in their editorial and production departments and PCs in their business and sales departments. This dates back to the days when the Mac had a much more user-friendly interface with graphic interfaces rather than a blinking cursor as an invitation to type some lovely code.
However, I would argue that, today, the differences are pretty minimal and the PC world has adopted some of the visual aesthetics of Apple computing. My PC computer at work, for example, has a dock, just like my MacBook at home. At both work and home, I use Adobe publishing software and find them to be virtually the same.
Some features are better on the PC – the right click button on the mouse, for example. Others are better on the Mac. I constantly find myself attempting to scroll horizontally on my work PC – not going to happen.
Having gotten accustomed to the PC, after being a Mac most of my life, I find Windows somewhat easier to navigate than the Mac’s Finder. The Finder is also, incidentally, one of the first casualties of a slow-running Mac, which I’m learning as my MacBook grows a little long in the tooth.
One controversial decision Apple made was to switch to mostly glossy screens which is hard on the eyes when you’re attempting to fine-tune a selection in Photoshop or bump a graphic to the exact gridline where you need it.
While the Macintosh has its own suite of office programs, iWork, Microsoft Office for Mac is still the predominant program and if you want to write articles for different publications, Office will give you greater compatibility.
However, when it comes to publishing Macs aren’t going anywhere. So, if you are considering a career in publishing, it wouldn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with the interface. For some reason, Mac users tend to be a little more apt to use the quick keys which are for the most part the same on the PC. On a PC you would control click, whereas on a Mac, you command click. Learn a few of these at first: ‘o’ is open; ‘w’ close; ‘n’ new document. Once you have the basics down, learn the keys for the functions you use the most. These will speed up your workflow immensely.
Consider dropping by an Apple Store if you live in a city large enough to have one. You can try out the interface and maybe even sign up for a tutorial. Most community colleges also offer introductions to the Mac user interface.
At first learning a new interface can be a little frustrating, but fluency in both platforms can only help you if you want to break into a creative field.