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    Magpie

    Why Magpie? Because I like observing these sleek birds with a tapering tail. And like Magpies, I live with the burden of being a 'chatter', even though I believe that I am rather shy, reserved and unobtrusive :).

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    Strategy: Turn Readers into Contributors

    JPG Magazine, a photography magazine that features user-generated content, recently relaunched. In its previous incarnation, the magazine allowed photographers to submit photos based on one theme per issue. While anyone could submit, JPG's founders (Derek Powazek and Heather Champ) decided which photos made it into print.

    Now, JPG is even more customer-made. Members can upload photos for a variety of themes--three for the mag's 8th issue: Tourist, Intimate and Embrace the Blur--as well as for themes that aren't yet scheduled for an issue. Member participation helps JPG decide which themes to choose for future issues. While a first selection is performed by contributors themselves as they're only allowed to submit one photo to each theme, the other major change is that members can now vote for other members' submissions. JPG's editors will continue to make the final selection, but member votes play an important role. If their photo is picked, contributors get USD 100 and a year's subscription to the magazine.

    Besides becoming more user-generated, JPG has also taken two steps towards 'serious' publishing. While the first 6 issues were printed on demand using print-on-demand service Lulu, JPG is now switching to traditional offset printing to lower the sale price. The publication will also start featuring full-page ads and offers advertisers the opportunity to sponsor a theme.

    At a time when many magazines are shifting from offline to online, JPG's parent company, 8020 Publishing, is moving in the opposite direction, acknowledging that paper has advantages over the web.

    As Powzaek puts it: "Print is difficult. It's cumbersome and expensive. Highly impractical. But it's also archival, beautiful, and emotive. Print can be intimate in a way the web never can. [...] Now, with an internet brimming with data, magazines are free to skip the data and focus on what they do best: communicate, entertain, and inspire."

    Combining the two worlds -- using the internet to open up to readers and recognize them as valuable contributors, magazines can only get better.

    Read the original article at http://www.springwise.com/weekly/2006-11-07.htm#jpg

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