JPG Magazine: User-Generated Content in Print

jpg_magazine_issue_7.jpgAlex Padalka reports on the site about the latest issue of JPG Magazine. Issue seven of the magazine relies completely on photos submitted by their online community.

“Instead of starting in print and building a community, you start online. Then when you launch your first copy, you have supporters there,” said Derek Powazek (one of the co-founders). JPG was, in part, an expansion of a working idea called Photo Club – a service that delivered an original photo once a month to subscribers. The Powazeks went online and named their endeavor JPG Magazine, “to honor all the fantastic work being put online that never saw the light of day in print.” They accepted digital submissions from anyone using all the digital tools at their disposal (gmail, flickr, lulu), selected the best and produced six issues over the next two years.”

“Issue seven had more than 1,400 submissions and issue eight has already received over 5,000 submissions. And while editors still have final say, the community now votes on what photos they would like to see in the magazine. Think American Idol for magazines. One thing JPG discovered early on is that while an open submission and voting policy is best for the health of the online community, it requires moderation from an editor to produce the highest quality magazine.”

JPG pays each photographer who gets published $100 and a free year subscription.

Michael Arrington at TechCrunch says: “More print magazines should be doing similar things to embrace an online community instead of just copying their print content to their website. Periodic news magazines have no chance over the long run against their own online competitors. But magazines like JPG Mag, which people want to keep and display over the long run, can be successful. If they come up with the right way to bridge the online and offline worlds.”

What it means: I think the key learning there is the importance of the editor. This is definitely a model that should be embraced by any company operating in both the offline and online space. Do you have content in your online properties that could be valuable offline, in the printed, TV or radio world? Can a local social site become a print directory? Yes, see’s efforts. Can a podcast become a radio show? Can something posted on a video site become a TV show?


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