The STACK Blog
I wrote a while ago about the weekend magazine masterclass I helped to organise at the Guardian last year. We’re doing it again this year from 14-15 September with some fantastic speakers involved – tickets are on sale now.
The point of my last post was that lots of magazines and zines (and one book) came out of the weekend, and it’s brilliant to see so many interesting projects moving from the realm of ideas to real actual paper on the shelf. So I was very pleased to hear from Tom Dunn this week. Another of the weekend’s alumni, his Kids With Puns zine has also made the transition to reality.
He had the name when he came to the masterclass (and it is a great name) but wasn’t entirely sure what to do with it. I think the results are great, and even better, Kids With Puns wants you to get involved too. Got an amazing pun you just need to share with the world? Head over to the site and submit it to the blog, and it could well make it into issue two.
One of the best things about running Stack is that I get to hang around in magazine offices, meeting the people behind the words and pictures as they bring the whole thing together. I try to get a sense of that across in the Stack letters, but there’s only so much you can do without seeing the places for yourself. So I decided to try something else.
No, we’re not running subscriber-only tours of magazine studios (probably not massively scalable). But we are making monthly videos that put the magazine makers, along with their offices / studios / kitchen tables in front of the camera. We’re starting with Eye, which was the June delivery, and the results are now ready for your viewing pleasure.
I’d love to know what you think to it, so please do let me know either in the comments below, or via Twitter or Facebook. Thanks very much to Simon, John and Janet at Eye for being so hospitable, and to Tom for all the hard work.
Now, time to start making that YouTube channel…
Have you bought your ticket for Printout yet?
I’m sure you have, but just in case you need a bit more persuading, we can now announce that we’ve added Frieze to the line-up of magazines that will be talking about their work in video.
Frieze is particularly ambitious with its AV work – have a look at the video bit of their site and you’ll find a wealth of really interesting short films all expanding on what the magazine does. This is what I find so interesting about magazines using video – there’s no question of Frieze surrendering their print magazine (at least not that I’ve heard) but they’ve realised that there’s massive potential for telling their stories in a different medium.
I’m really looking forward to hearing the details from associate editor Sam Thorne – don’t miss out!
I wrote a post a while ago about the two-day magazine publishing masterclass I ran at the Guardian last year. Lots of the ideas students talked about that weekend have since been turned into real magazines and it’s been fantastic to watch them emerge, so I’m very excited to be running another masterclass from 14-15 September.
The weekend format really allows us to get into the details of magazine publishing, and we’ve got a fantastic line-up of experts ready to share their knowledge.
We’ll kick off with a talk by Debbi Evans, one of the students who came to last year’s class and now the editor of Libertine, the magazine for interested women. She’ll be speaking frankly about her experiences over the last year – the things she did well and the things she wishes she’d known more about.
Rob Orchard, publisher of Delayed Gratification, will talk about the importance of finding your niche. He gave the talk at a Guardian class a couple of weeks ago and it was absolutely fascinating, so he’ll be using the longer time slot to expand on those ideas and run a workshop that helps students to figure out their own magazine’s niche.
Cathy Olmedillas is the editor and founder of Anorak, the happy mag for kids, and she’ll share her experience on how to make an impact with an independent magazine. New titles have a relatively short amount of time to make their mark on the shelf, so she’ll be talking about some of the strategies she’s used over the years.
If you’ve ever read magCulture or been to Printout you’ll know who Jeremy Leslie is – the godfather of independent publishing will cast his eye over the current market, picking out some of the most successful titles and speaking about what sets them apart. Kicking off Sunday’s talks, this is going to be a must-see keynote.
Alan Rutter is a journalist and digital media consultant currently working for Conde Nast – he’ll speak about the importance of a solid digital strategy for print magazines. Running through everything from the simplest Tumblr to the most complex bespoke tablet solution, he’ll make sure all students understand why digital matters and how they can make it part of their plans.
Dan Byrne and Paul Gleeson started the football magazine Spiel in 2011, and earlier this year they launched Field, a matchday magazine distributed to 50,000 fans at every Premiership ground up and down the country every week. They’ll talk about the importance of learning as you go and turning ideas into reality.
Of course I’ll be pitching in too, with a talk on the difficulties of distribution and some practical ways for actually getting print magazines out to readers. And we’re leaving lots of time for the students to talk about their own projects – one of the things we learned from running the course last year is that students tend to be at very different stages of preparation, but that’s fine – we’re working hard to make sure the course will be useful to anyone seriously thinking of publishing their own magazine, whether they’re still coming up with a name or they’ve got a bundle of colour proofs under their arm.
Tickets are on sale now – I’m looking forward to seeing what sort of projects come along this time.
We normally try to keep the contents of a Stack delivery secret so as not to spoil your monthly magazine surprise, but this month is a bit of an exception.
As well as the main magazine (which shall remain unnamed) we’re sending out a free copy of Intern. A brand new independent magazine dedicated to the people who work for free in the creative industries, Intern is currently in prototype and the copy you receive from Stack this month is an issue zero, printed quickly and cheaply on newsprint as something of a statement of intent.
To make the magazine for real will take some startup capital, and that’s why I’m posting about it now. Because today a Kickstarter campaign went live, with the aim of raising enough money to make issue one of Intern and turn it into a proper, ongoing magazine. So if you like what you see in your Stack delivery this month (or if you just like the look of the cover above) head on over to the Kickstarter page and show your support in pounds and pence.
Good luck Alec and everyone else involved with Intern. I’m looking forward to seeing issue one for real.
Online video is booming (did you know that 89 million people in the US are going to watch 1.2 billion online videos today? I love Digiday stats lists).
And independent magazines are getting in on the act. Print magazines are using video to tell stories, build community and make money, transferring the skills they’ve honed with words and pictures on a page to make the most of AV on a screen. And then of course there are the magazines that don’t print at all, and instead choose to do all their storytelling via video.
It feels like there’s something happening here, so for the next Printout we’re going to bring together some of the magazines that are making use of video to find out what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. We’ll have the people who made videos for Little White Lies, Oh Comely and Intern, as well as the people from crane.tv, the digital video magazine.
It’s happening at The Book Club in Shoreditch on Tuesday 23 July, starting at 6.30pm. Tickets are on sale now, and as ever they’re just £5.
A couple of weeks ago Dan and Paul from Field and Spiel magazines dropped in to say hello. I’ve been massively impressed by the way they’ve launched a proper national magazine going out to 50,000 football fans at Premiership grounds up and down the country every week, so I took the opportunity to interview them about how they’ve made it happen.
It turns out the secret to their success is dogged determination, a healthy amount of scepticism and an unhealthy amount of Creme Eggs. Unfortunately the noise in the bar we were sitting in made it hard to work out who actually said what, so the following interview mashes both of their responses together into one Liverpudlian football-loving hybrid…
There are a lot of great food magazines around at the moment, so it seems like a fitting time to bring one of them into the Stack ranks.
The Gourmand is a particularly beautiful example of the trend for food in print, but don’t expect the sort of mainstream ‘food porn’ you see in most mainstream food magazines. The Gourmand’s take on the stuff we eat is subtly subverted, always inventive and sometimes gorgeously gross (see the squid above).
But it’s not just a pretty/gross face. Mixing long, thoughtful articles with quick bites and irreverent asides, it’s brilliantly paced and draws the reader through from start to finish. There’s no mistaking the fact that this is a labour of love: editors-in-chief David Lane and Marina Tweed exercise complete control over the whole package, which is why you can expect advertising that’s every bit as beautiful as the editorial (they probably art directed it) and that lovely pacing (they won’t go to press until they’re absolutely sure they’ve got the balance of stories right).
It’s also a particularly lovely object – mixing papers and print processes, it’s a shining example of the power that print possesses to become more than the sum of its parts. I’m incredibly excited to be sending out such a lovely magazine, so expect to see it popping through your letter box at some point very soon.