Part of the reason people are quick to dismiss print magazines as a fleeting artifact of a bygone era is because they just take too long and are too expensive to make.
Another reason might be because they haven’t heard of Longshot, a magazine about to launch its second issue of publication, completed from start-to-finish in just 48 hours, and funded by Kickstarter. The last issue was a big success; they “split up the proceeds among all the contributors and that meant everyone got exactly 8 dollars and 93 cents.” This time, they’re out to pay a little more, or at least enough that “it becomes impractical to pay everyone with pennies.”
But I think there’s a lot more to this than ‘experimental hyper-journalism’ or ‘sudden crowd-sourced innovation’ or any hyphenated other buzzwords. The New York Times wrote that “it is a remarkable artifact, a testament to the proposition that even the most wired cohort of journalists in the country retains a fetish for the printed product.” There’s even more to it than that. “It is the thingness of it, the physical evidence of the weekend that is so great,” said Mat Honan, one the the project’s co-founders.
The fact is that print is more than a fetish, both for the producers and the consumers. People still want to see their work in living color, not solely in pixels, and readers inherently respect that the printed word is more valuable than the online word, certainly in a financial sense, and maybe ideologically as well. Would it be as successful it it were a submissions call for an impromptu iPad-only magazine?
Either an old dog has learned a new trick, or maybe the dog’s not that old after all.