Crowd-Sourcing an Entire Magazine: The Way of the Future?

Ladies’ Home Journal, a long-running women’s magazine, has announced that beginning with their March issue,

Ladies Home Journal cover

it will allow readers to produce the majority of its articles. The 128-year-old magazine, with an average paid circulation of 3.2 million, would be the first major mass-market magazine to draw on user-generated content for most of its pages.

It’s a brave new world, where self-selected and audience-generated content can drive a major publication, in an attempt to make readers feel more a part of the community (and thus presumably more likely to continue subscribing). It’s not all unrestrained, though:

While most of the content will be user-generated, editors will continue to check facts in articles. Contributors will be paid the usual standard professional rates. And professional experts will also continue to provide advice, often alongside first-person accounts.

I’m really glad to see that they’re not switching to this as a form of cost-cutting. Too many places think of community content as free; it’s good to see contributors being paid for their writing.

I found myself wondering how this kind of process might work when it comes to comics, specifically the dominant genre of superhero comics. There has always been a tension between what fans say they want and what they actually buy. Comic fans are terrible at sending a message with their wallets, continuing to buy what they gripe about, but so very many of the readers also want to write the stories themselves.

What would a crowd-sourced superhero story look like? I’m envisioning the return of text pages, where user-submitted story ideas and short scenes could be run. I’d also incorporate something from the manga anthologies — reader surveys on which concepts they liked and which they hated, so fan writers could get feedback from their peers. That would, I imagine, draw an increased reader base as they bought the comics to see whether their ideas were included and what others thought of them.

Comments Off

Comments are closed.




Most Recent Posts: