The gorgeous, improbable future of newspapers


Here’s an idea: Take the dying, shrinking newspaper and move it in the opposite direction. Bigger. Bolder. Better.

The creative minds behind McSweeney’s are publishing a vision of what newspapers could be — a stunning 380 pages of original content, including an enormous 112-page broadsheet 15 inches by 22 inches, a magazine, books section, and — take that, AP newswire — a 32-page news section filled with local reporting. Titled the San Francisco Panorama, it launches in early December with contributions from 150 writers, artists and photographers. (Preview the sweetness here.)

How could the market possibly support such a huge endeavor? Why, once a year, if that. The editors suggest this is a one-shot deal. “We think that the best chance for newspapers’ survival is to do what the internet can’t: namely, use and explore the large-paper format as thoroughly as possible. To that end, we opted for a huge and luxurious broadsheet … and then unleashed artists and designers to show exactly how much the format can do.” Given the book-like effort, the pub will go on sale at bookstores around the country beyond the local San Francisco market.

All we can say is, wow. They even brought back the comic strip in its full-page, complexly plotted, type-font-you-can-read glory. And yes, it will include ads. It’s a newspaper we might actually pay for. It makes us miss what newsprint used to be.

Via Mark Wanczak.

4 thoughts on “The gorgeous, improbable future of newspapers

  1. It is beautiful Ben, but it feels much more like a magazine printed on newspaper stock (think Interview in the early 80s) than an actual newspaper.

    Especially given the once a year game plan.

    The semantics of what we call different publications is very much up for debate these days: is HuffPo really a “blog”? Or is it an online magazine? Or maybe even an online media portal?

    That said, I still like reading an actual newspaper. Both for the feel and the serendipity of stumbling on an article I wasn’t looking for,

  2. I get most of my news via links on twitter. There is no way newspapers can compete with the “on line” news cycles of today. A story is “old” in 2-4 hours.

    More people than ever have internet news available all the time, on their phones.

    And TV news is an oxymoron, with plenty of talking morons.

    We need to let newspapers die a natural death and concentrate on how we can fund news reporters, as we will continue to need competent reporting and editing.

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