Printcasting.com, Create your own Digital Magazine

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.”
Picture 2 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:
Picture 12
Picture 5

On this page visitors can: advertise in the next issue, contact the publisher, view previous editions, and subscribe to the magazine.

How To:
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.

Stay up on the latest from Printcasting
follow Printcasting on Twitter
Pachecod on Twitter Dan Pacheco is a product manager and former journalist who uses (and sometimes builds) social tools for public good.

-Maggie Soladay

  • http://www.printcasting.com Dan Pacheco

    Thanks for spreading the word. We already have over 300 RSS feeds in Printcasting with 6,000 articles, but are looking forward to having more bloggers participate. This post and others like that will help make that happen.

    Thank you also for asking for a quick fact check. You should know that this puts you ahead of the pack of most paid journalists, who rarely call to check facts for a story like this and sometimes get things wrong as a result.

    Here are a few very small clarifications based on my first read.

    1) I wouldn’t exactly call the audience of The Bakersfield Californian “young and hip.” The Californian has been the daily newspaper in Bakersfield for 140 years. I think you must be referring to http://bakotopia.com, which is a niche publication for young, hip and “young and hip at heart” people in Bakersfield. It has a biweekly magazine that carries content from user-contributed stories online and is full of ads. You can see an example on the home page of Bakotopia.com.

    2) Printcasting itself was not used to create magazines like Bakotopia, but the experience of starting Bakotopia and seeing it make money with its print magazine is what inspired the Printcasting concept. We created several niche social networks with print magazine components, and noticed that in most cases the print ad revenue would pay for the entire operation. We thought: if we can repeat this 100 or 1,000 times, the numbers start to look interesting and could help counteract some of the revenue lost from our core product. The only way we could figure out how to do that was to turn print publishing and “curating” of magazines over to the people, just as we had done with a lot of content creation via citizen journalism.

    Thanks again!

    Dan Pacheco
    Founder, Printcasting.com

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