Indycollablogozine

[Update] No, I wasn’t kidding. So after a break for the holidays I’ve put this post “back at the top”. Look at my thoughts in the comments and lets move forward.

A little while ago Blork wrote a post mentioning how indy media isn’t very indy anymore, how even “edgy” papers are now owned by big media conglomerates and don’t have a distinctive opinion. I’ve been thinking that with the blog writers we have in Montréal we could put together a decent “paper”. Much smaller in terms of the number of articles but pretty high on quality. What is covered from one issue to the next would vary with what inspires the writers, no hard set list of features and departments.

Movies, books, shows, music, restaurants, exhibitions, news, architecture, design, technology, sports, even fiction. You name it, all the content volume is already there, this would be a forum in which people can regroup to find more readers as well as a goal to motivate each other in writing longer pieces. Without mentioning creating something good that could fill a void in town. Those articles could be either exclusive for the zine or—in keeping with the blog origins—would appear on the writer’s blog (if he/she has one) and be duplicated and trackbacked to the zine.

It would also be bilingual, like Montréal is. Not in the “I have to translate everything” sense of bilingual, more simply it would reflect our conversations, this feels better in french, write it in french, this other one in english, write it that way. That’s how it works in day to day life (my life anyway), that’s the way the zine can be too.

The whole project would be built in tableless valid xhtml and css making each page very flexible which makes individual articles, sections or issues subject to a different design making the zine a showcase not only for writers but also for designers while at the same time using the greater possibilities of the web to push it further than current online magazines. Look for example at voir.ca which is a pretty well designed website but stays very close to the paper version and doesn’t change any faster. The web can be much more than that.

For the foreseeable future bandwidth demands shouldn’t be too big so I am offering to host that magazine on it’s own domain, create the templates and the initial design. I’d like to know who is interested in collaborating by writing articles and on which subjects (initially but no real limitations on who talks about what), if anyone would be tempted to create page designs and finally if photographers would like to get involved for supporting imagery on specific articles, photos used in the designs or even for “gallery shows” online.

I should also mention that this idea has come by noticing the quality of writing in various blog so I have been talking about bloggers but of course anyone interested in creating content, designing or providing photography can get involved.

So, anyone interested in participating in this indycollablogozine?

(Ideally, say so in the comments so others can judge the interest (or not) but you can also email me directly.)

15 Comments

aj December 19, 2003

I’m up for it!

steph December 20, 2003

Me! Me! Me!

Gen December 20, 2003

Je ne sais pas si je “suis” d’assez bonne qualité pour y participer, mais je dois bien avouer que je trouve le concept vraiment génial. ;-)

Martine December 20, 2003

While everybody is shopping, Patrick’s mind is still working! Amazing…

C’est une idée très intéressante qui court cependant le risque de prendre de plus grandes proportions que prévu, surtout en terme de charge de travail mais peut-être aussi en terme de popularité…

So it would be a bit like the YULblog Web site, only with an editorial line and possibly exclusive articles? Would any content be accepted or would there be some kind of editorial decision? With new content everyday on the front page? Would we all proofread each other’s content or would it be published “as is”?

I have a bunch of questions, obviously, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not interested! It’s a great idea and I’d love to participate.

blork December 20, 2003

Wow! Yeah, I’m interested! But like M, I have questions… I think it’s a great idea, and I’d like to see the structure more loose than formal, but not so loose that it’s just a slush pile!

More!

Alex December 20, 2003

I’m down.

John December 20, 2003

Yeah count me in as well.

Patrick December 21, 2003

Allright, quite a few interested people! :)

I know there are a lot of questions, I kept the initial post short but I am aware of a lot of issues already, I’ll answer a couple how I think it should go:

1. There will be new articles as they come out, I don’t think that will end up being every day, maybe 2-3 a week at most but that’s just an estimate, not a rule. I would like articles to be well developed and not just quick posts but at the same time we don’t have to wait and post all the week’s stuff at the same time.

2. There should be proofreading, we’re trying to go somewhere between blogs and a newspaper so there needs to be some editorial overview, swapping articles for corrections and opinions is probably the best way. Depending on how many people want to get involved at what level (and discussing it) we’ll see how much of an editor(s) there should/can be for subject choices.

As for the rest, there’s a couple of ways to discuss them, probably a mix of a couple of “techniques”:

1. Meeting in person (the first few questions might be discussed at yulblog, unless it’s better to keep them seperate?). Live meetings usually make for good discussion and solutions but are also very hard to schedule when involving many people so online discussion would be a good thing to get used to right away.

2. Wiki. I can setup a wiki in 5-6 minutes, if you are all comfortable with working with such a product it’s easy to create pages to discuss various issues.

3. Mailing list. I haven’t tried it yet but I can also create a mailing list through my web host.

alexandre January 5, 2004

alors j’imagine que ca veut dire qu’il y a une deuxieme ronde ?

ca m’interesse. au pire, si je n’ecris pas, je peux toujours servir de police grammaticale, syntaxique et orthographique. mon regard est d’une acutesse desarmante lorsqu’il s’agit de corriger les textes des autres. :>

lightspeedchick January 6, 2004

Of course I’m in.

Michael January 6, 2004

Maybe the best idea is to keep the content on people’s blogs, or at least on separate sections of their blogs, and feed it YULBlog style to the central site. All that would be required then are some loose assignments and deadlines, and a way to display the stories coherently in one interface. It would likely take some trackback-wrangling, but not that much.

The side benefit would be that each individual would still host their own piece, and so simultaneously it would support the once-important “longer post” movement while adding to a newspaper kind of thing as well.

I nominate Ed for Fringe reviews! (Actually, that’s a great example. He continues to do them as normal, but as they are aggregated automagically, they also become part of the ‘paper’).

Michel January 6, 2004

Mmm, Michael has a really good idea.

Patrick January 6, 2004

Yes, a good idea and it’s one of the things I had mentioned “Those articles could be either exclusive for the zine or — in keeping with the blog origins — would appear on the writer’s blog (if he/she has one) and be duplicated and trackbacked to the zine”. I’m not sure how doable it is to show the complete article instead of an excerpt, it’s also not super flexible in terms of archiving, commenting, etc. So I’m not sure we’d use trackback but the articles could certainly appear in both places.

Also, it implies that all users have either Typepad or Movable Type (a couple of other possibilities but those are the big ones). It’s probably easier for users of Blogger or homegrown solutions to login to a zine MT installation and post there than to patch through a trackback. It also keeps non bloggers out which wasn’t intended.

Anyway, it’s an idea to keep in mind, just not sure yet if it’s the best way technically.

Gen January 7, 2004

Je suis toujours interessee moi aussi… ;-)

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