Live journalism meets a centuries-old tradition

The symbiotic relationship between editorial design and narrative journalism enables the production of a publication that not only informs but also entertains its readers. Over the past 25 years or so, there has been an ever going debate regarding the future of print publications and weather their digital equivalent, with its reduced production costs and increased outreach, could eventually replace its analogue predecessor. To this date, however, print has remained a popular choice amongst magazine and newspaper publishers, most of whom even published digital editions of their analogue counterparts.

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Print has remained a popular choice for magazine publishers. Image credits: Michael Gaida

Print magazines can be just as interactive as digital editions due to the tangible nature of paper. People can interact in a variety of ways with print publications, however, there is only so much you can do with the material. Nowadays, you can find digital publications with embeded videos or links that support the main article and further enhance the reader’s experience. Can magazines become even more interactive? Turns out they can…

After quitting her job at the Associated Press, Samantha Gross founded the in-person magazine called Story Tour – a live, experiential magazine comprised of guided stories that take place in New York City. What Gross loved most about working as a journalist is that she could enter the lives of so many people and hear their stories – an experience that can’t be shared with her readers. The experiential Story Tour magazine offers an immersive storytelling where the narrative takes place right in front of the participants. They get the description by seeing it themselves while they are hearing the narrative from the storyteller. The audience members also have the opportunity to take part in interviews with real people. There are two types of storytelling the in-person magazine offers – fiction and nonfiction. While the fiction tour is comprised of made up stories that challenge the imagination of the participants, the nonfiction story tours offer real stories, with real people, with real locations…

“Our nonfiction story tours are like an equivalent of walking into the pages of a narrative feature in a magazine.” – S. Gross

Live journalism is a flexible format that allows the stories to escape the confines of the written word and offers the audience member a first-person experience of narrative journalism. Samantha Gross is just one of an increasing number of reporters looking to take their work beyond the paper or the screen.

The Pop-Up magazine was founded by the writer Douglas McGray with the idea to bring together the creative power, that makes the production of a magazine possible, and have the people involved show their work in front of an audience. McGray’s decision to dispense with the paper has proven successful as the Pop-Up shows sell out a 2,600-person venue, as compared to his earlier shows that would, with the rather impressive figure for such an endevor, a 360-seat theather. Another interesting feature of the Pop-Up magazine is that the majority of the shows are not recorded in any form. The story unfolds right there and then. It creates the feeling of being part of a community as you could meet like-minded people with whom to share ideas, interests, and experiences.

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Pop-Up magazine’s intriguing format and the decision to dispense with paper proved to be a major success. Image credits: Pop-Up

Magazines have attracted readers with their interesting stories, visual layout, and full colour print – a luxury newspapers couldn’t afford until recently. The introduction of the World Wide Web and its massive communication capabilities has provided magazine publishers with a digital platform, that enables magazines to acheive a quality previously asribed to newspapers – immediacy. It seems that live journalism has provided yet another platform for magazines to flourish. It’s interactive nature, bold character, and seemingly endless source of inspiration are a breath of fresh air to a centuries-old tradition – something I have tried and somewhat failed to achieve with Culceister by introducing QR-codes to print publications.


Interesting fact: The word ‘magazine’ referes to a collection or storrage location, and it the case of written publications – a collection of written articles; hence why magazine publications share the word with firearms, gunpowder, and artillery magazines.

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