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Nieman Journalism Lab
Pushing to the future of journalism — A project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard

Publishing a magazine in 31.5 hours

Derek Powazek — one of the earliest thinkers about building community around websites — has written a post about the day-and-a-half turnaround time he had to produce a one-off magazine called Strange Light.

The magazine’s subject is that amazing and gorgeous duststorm that hit eastern Australia last week. From the idea to the final product — which featured 54 photos of the storm, each use with the permission of its photographer — took less than two days.

News organizations have, over the years, gotten pretty good at quick-turnaround books; I’m thinking of the sort of thing that papers put out when the local team wins a Super Bowl. But those still require a lot of advance planning and the work of a lot of staffers. Derek’s post is a reminder that, with today’s digital production tools and advances in small-batch printing, one person can assemble a high-quality print product in hours.

Derek produced Strange Light using MagCloud, an HP project he’s been involved in. I’ve written before about how Time Inc. is experimenting with customized single-copy magazine runs. At the book level, I’ve used Lulu to print two different paperback books — each with a print run of one — and I’ve been happy with the final product. Whatever the vendor, small-batch niche publishing doesn’t have to be solely an online affair; it can live on paper too.

                                   
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Ken Doctor    July 25, 2014
When people talk about explanatory journalism, the focus is on new players like Vox and FiveThirtyEight, or on giants like the Times and the Post. But can connecting the dots trickle down to the local level?
  • http://neverneutral.wordpress.com/ EP

    Ah, thank you. Awesome.