Rice’s goals for Symbolia are larger than the publication. “I hope we’re able to raise visibility for this form of storytelling, increase the demand for illustration in publishing, and create jobs for the fantastic illustrators and journalists we’ve had the pleasure of working with,” Rice said. Symbolia offers a new form of visual storytelling. It’s stylish and engaging; its sensibility is vintage but tech-savvy. Symbolia seems timely and contemporary. But the economics of graphic journalism aren’t timely at all. Producing high quality, hand-drawn illustrations is time-consuming and expensive and most news organizations are working with fast deadlines and low budgets.

“How We Survive”; is free, but later issues will cost $2.99. (It’s $11.99 for a yearlong subscription.) Polgreen is working on Symbolia’s business model — she is appealing to advertisers and launching a KickStarter Campaign. She hopes, in time, to turn Symbolia into a monthly publication. “Starting as a bimonthly will give us time to respond to feedback,” she said.


Joyce Rice

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Jessica Weisberg is a freelance writer and on the editorial staff of The New Yorker.