the news frontier

The Kickstarter Chronicles

Printing the Internet and updating an office
August 31, 2012

Each week, dozens of journalistic endeavors turn to Kickstarter for funding. Pitching media projects to this online community brings another meaning to the concept “public interest journalism”; success depends on how intrigued people are by the pitch. From the hugely popular to the barely noticed, CJR’s Kickstarter Chronicles is a look through some of these journalistic proposals.

Hey, you know how the Internet is slowly killing print media? Here’s a Kickstarter project that turns that idea on its head: The Printed Blog. “The world’s only print magazine made of content from the Web” curates blog content and compiles the best submissions into a glossy color magazine alongside edgy, artsy photography (Tyler Shields recently joined The Printed Blog team as photography editor and co-founder).

The Printed Blog had a short run in 2009 and 2010 until, according to managing editor Beverly Kim, “the money ran dry.” The campaign, which hopes to raise $25,000, should give the magazine a nice jumping-off point to become a fully sustainable publication, with funds raised going towards printing costs and contributor payments.

That’s right—bloggers who are traditionally unpaid for their efforts will receive a strange thing in the mail called a “check” for any work that appears in The Printed Blog. The campaign page says the magazine pays $50 for published pieces and photos and hopes to pay more as its budget increases. “We believe that The Printed Blog is more than just a magazine,” Kim wrote to CJR in an email. “It’s a way to memorialize the Internet and give a new rise to citizen journalism. We want bloggers to have the respect and value they deserve.”

Deadline is October 5 at 10:29 a.m.

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Kickstarter isn’t the only crowd-funding website out there (nor was it even the first—ArtistShare, for instance, has been around since 2003, six years before Kickstarter’s debut). Yet another fundraising site is Indiegogo, which differs from Kickstarter in that it lets campaigners to keep however much money they raise, regardless of whether or not they meet their goal in time. Indiegogo also allows fundraisers for charitable efforts—not just the tangible projects to which Kickstarter limits campaigners.

This is good news for the biannual Canadian literary magazine Brick. Its office could use some extra funds to buy a new iMac for publisher and managing editor Nadia Szilvassy, who is currently stuck with a 2004 model. “Even opening a Word document is an ordeal for Nadia’s iMac G4,” assistant editor and circulation manager Liz Johnston (who struggles with her own “not that much better” Mac Mini) told CJR via email. “We tend to see a lot of that spinning colour [sic, Canadian] wheel.”

The magazine hopes to raise at least $1,500 in this campaign, a goal it’s just a few hundred dollars shy of reaching well before the deadline. Additional funds raised will get Nadia a new chair to replace the “hilariously rickety” one she currently occupies, and a new phone to replace their current model that appears to be from the early ’90s. Anyone who has ever experienced the spinning beachball of death’s mocking happy dance should consider chipping in to this worthy cause.

Deadline is November 23 at 8:59 p.m.

Sara Morrison is a former assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @saramorrison.