An exciting new launch, one that promises a rebirth for the local paper and niche magazines.
A July ’09 NYTimes story: A Quick Path to Magazine Editor and Publisher by Claire Cain Miller, is a brief delve into one of the many prospects for citizen journalism’s future. Claire Miller’s piece explores Printcasting.com which is a place for “people powered” magazines online.
Princasting’s website declares: “Printcasting™ is a new local media ecosystem that lets everyone share in the work, and the rewards.” Miller explains that the way Printcasting works is; “Would-be publishers choose a name and template for their paper on the Printcasting Web site. Then they can fill it with articles they have uploaded to the site or search topic feeds, like food or travel, to find articles that others bloggers or newspapers have uploaded.”
Printcasting was started by Dan Pacheco of the The Bakersfield Californian, a local newspaper for all residents of Bakersfield, CA. The first Printcasting magazines were edited by Bakersfield locals and stories RSS fed from Bakotopia.com. While Printcasting’s focus was originally just on the 330,000 residents of Bakersfield. Now, says Dan Pacheco, “anyone can now use the site to create an automatically updating, printable PDF magazine.” The reason is thanks to the grant they received from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation via the Knight News Challenge. In the NYTimes story Claire Cain Miller reports that the “$837,000 grant from the Knight Foundation’s program to find digital models for local news, hopes to attract new readers and advertisers to print publications.”
The Bakersfield Californian is charging premium print rates for ads.
In a Business Week story The Online Experiments That Could Help Newspapers By Olga Kharif, Kharif reports that the magazine’s audience is young, hip, and hard to reach. Quoting Dan Pacheco “advertisers do pay full rates, the magazine even turns a profit.” She goes on to quote Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at the Poynter Institute who said; “newspapers had hoped that their Web sites would help them replace evaporating print revenue. But an online ad typically garners one-tenth of the revenue of a print ad.”
Despite evidence around the country of failing newsrooms and struggling journalists it seems this model could work. On the Digital Nirvana blog Adam Dewitz notes that “Pacheco said that early experiments in digital-print hybrid magazines in Bakersfield, such as Bakotopia.com and Bakotopia Magazine, show that there is money to be made in niche publications.”
Two Page VIews of a sample Printcasting Magazine’s page:
On this page visitors can: advertise in the next issue, contact the publisher, view previous editions, and subscribe to the magazine.
As a contributor you register your content, you make your words and pictures available for inclusion in other Printcasts on the site. And, if a magazine attracts advertising, you will receive a share of that revenue.
RSS feed off your blog is the easiest way to feed material to Printcasting.
Here is a link to turn the pages of a virtual copy of the Printcasting magazine.
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Pachecod on Twitter Dan Pacheco is a product manager and former journalist who uses (and sometimes builds) social tools for public good.