Dispatches- A Magazine For The Future

- - Magazines

Dispatches is a new quarterly magazine co-edited by Mort Rosenblum, former editor of the International Herald Tribune and Gary Knight, founding member of VII photo agency. Each issue will focus on a single topic and the premiere issue topic is America. I’m told Antonin Kratochvil has an 80 page photo essay *repeat, 80 goddam pages of photography* from a month long trip across the US. Holy shit that’s awesome. The topic for the second issue is Beyond Iraq and will feature photographer Yuri Kozyrev. Awesome again.

Until I get my hands on the first issue I’ve only got the website (here) to go off, but I really like what I see and of course the 80 page photo essay sounds epic. This jibes perfectly with the role I foresee for magazines in the future. Covering topics in depth and displaying them in ways the internet can never compete with. Long form journalism and BIG photo essays. I honestly don’t need to see another thumbnail photo in a magazine for the rest of my life. I’ve got my fill right here on the internets.

Funny how none of the big publishers are going to step up to the plate on something like this so leave it to a photographer who’s sick of covering a story for a month and getting 2 pictures published in a magazine that will end up in the garbage can by Wednesday to make the big move.

Mort explains it further in the editors letter:

“We conceived dispatches to fit somewhere between Gutenberg and Google, a lively source of fresh knowledge about a world changing at warp speed in a format for people who savor the heft of words and images on paper.”

“Too often, these days, we forget a simple truth: the Internet is a means of delivery, not a source.”

“Gary Knight and I, co–editors, are journalists who were frustrated at trying to seek “truth” on the fly.”

Also, be sure to check out World Press Photo’s overall winner, Tim Hetherington’s acceptance speech (here). Love the honesty.

Good luck Mort and Gary. I hope you find your audience.

There Are 20 Comments On This Article.

  1. “leave it to a photographer who’s sick of covering a story for a month and getting 2 pictures published in a magazine that will end up in the garbage can by Wednesday”
    — ouch! You can put such a fine point on things sometimes, APE :). True dat.

  2. Gary is a true-blue photojournalist and eloquently versed in language, culture and politics. It’s heartening to see him push analog and digital reportage sidebyside and give storytelling a richer platform.

    At $17 bucks an issue, I’m sure it will detract more than a few buyers, but I’m eager to examine the inaugural essay. Thanks for bringing this up, Rob.

  3. Now here’s one that’s looking great right from the cover. Congrats on the designers.

    You’ve referred several truths concerning PJ and documentary, but then we reach the “17 bucks” part and remember why these things are getting rare by the day… People expect things much cheaper now, and that’s simply because things CAN be made cheaper – and still good.

    This is where you would link your readers to your previous great post http://aphotoeditor.com/2008/03/19/a-thought-on-the-future-of-photography/

    ;)

  4. in lisbon i had a little chat with Gary and when he told me about this/his new project i felt anxious right away to see the coming of the first number. subscribe now is the thig to do!

  5. Hooray!! A distinguished magazine worth subscribing to.

    I sincerely hope this is successful and wish them well.

  6. It’s great to see some people who are influential in journalism circles stepping up and putting together what looks to be a great vehicle for addressing important issues that are constantly underreported. It’s also nice seeing photos playing such a big role. I’m troubled by how photography so often plays a secondary role in reporting nowadays. It’d be wonderful if Dispatches could inspire some other magazines to utilize great visual storytelling. Unfortunately, the price of the issue will probably keep it from having as much impact as we hope.

  7. Amber Maitland

    I would just like to respond to the issue of price that seems to be cropping up in the comments.
    A lot of photographers have been voicing concerns in forums like Lightstalkers and on blog commentaries about the fact that they are paid very little or expected to do work for free because of industry pressures. We are creating a publication that pays its contributors for the work that they do — including the photographers and even the essayists on our website. This costs money, and I would hope that people would be eager to support this move.
    We are also producing something that is very high quality. When we show it to people for the first time, they are generally surprised by it because it is the size and shape of a book — 200 pages, A5 size. So it is like buying a paperback book every month, and it is designed to be kept and collected, rather than thrown away to make room for a new issue.
    I hope that this answers some questions and perhaps provokes some thought on the cost and perceived value of original content.

  8. People will always pay a premium for premium content. They do it with food, cars and yes, even photographers. Magazines are no different.

    This publication reminds me of the Surfer’s Journal. In depth coverage, amazing and diverse photography, beautifully printed, minimal advertising. And something you keep on your shelf as a reference book and inspiration for the years to come. It cost more – a lot more than a normal surfing magazine where I live (Australia/New Zealand), but it was and still is light years ahead of all the other surfing magazines.

    Can’t wait to see a real copy of Dispatches.

  9. Looks absolutely tremendous.I can’t wait to see a copy.
    Hopefully this magazine receives all the support it most rightly deserves and will give other stuck in the mud mags the kick in the bum they need to wake up.

    As far as being expensive is concerned; it certainly is not.
    Just under 16 euro(£12.50) for a quarterly works out at less than 6 euro a month.This is the same price as all the fair to crummy photo rags on sale.Here however you have a quality product that goes in the bookshelf,not in the rubbish bin.

    Success.

  10. THis magazine is amazing., Anton is a friend, and these are the projects that keep him ticking, He’s snapping away at the american heartland using b and w film. Kicking it old school. I’ll be buying this mag for sure and also keeping it on the bookshelf.

  11. This is really great. I’ve seen lots of magazines like this come and go over the years I hope this one finds the support it deserves. Anyone remember Nautical Quarterly that was a sweet one, hard cover lots of big beautiful images. I have a couple years worth that I still keep that are over 20 years old.

  12. Debra Weiss

    It’s more like 72 or 73 pages and most images are double truck. I purchased some while in NYC this past week at the VII Photo Conference. I would urge everyone to subscribe, as I would love to see a vehicle for photojournalism survive in this country. In addition to the great work on the pages, Gary Knight and all at VII are an incredible group of people.

  13. @14: doug, you’ve probably seen “lots of magazines like this come and go over the years” because of an overwhelmingly red balance sheet, not for lack of great content.

    Buy a $60 subscription and buy two for every one of your friends and convince everyone you work with to do the same. It’s really the only way a great magazine like this will survive – the usual business model for a newsstand magazine (advertising sales combined with circulation) just won’t work with this one, so you’ve got to put your money where your mouth is.

    Can you imagine Levitra and Captain Morgan and DKNY pulling ads in “dispatches?” No. And you’d probably find that advertising would somehow cheapen the book, so the only way Gary and Co. are going to make a go of this is from our support.

    Coming from an “indie” publisher POV and as a survivor of the Independent Press Association implosion, I’m sorry to say I’ve seen it all before.

    But there’s no reason “dispatches” can’t be a raging success!

  14. It’ll be a few months before I’m stateside again, but I can’t wait to get a copy of this. Got excited when I saw the website pop up a couple months ago, got inspired when I read the mission statement and some of the essay; can’t wait to see the whole thing in my hands.

    Hopefully this does succeed. I think there could be a lot of readers for a magazine like this just as there are readers for the literary magazines that dot newsstands around the country. I sure hope something a little more long-form can survive; may not sit on the grocery store shelf next to Danielle Steele but there is a place for it.