‘I’m looking forward to talking about what it takes to build a news enterprise from the ground up and what it takes to bootstrap an audience into existence, as well as how far you can go with experimental products and not a lot of capital,’ her disembodied voice says through the black computer screen.
Symbolia’s Cofounder Erin Polgreen was interviewed by J-Lab on the magazine’s roll out and release last December. To date, Symbolia has been featured in over 100 publications around the globe—and we’re just getting started. Stay tuned this week for some big announcements!
Big thanks to Chris Cassidy, Kate Gardiner, and Aleia Murawski for helping make our launch such a big success.
And what does the digital medium add? What does the tablet add that a website doesn’t?
For me, the tablet adds a turbo charge to the actual experience of reading a comic or a handheld magazine. With a tablet, you are able to engage many senses and many different types of learners in the actual app. For example, by having people manipulate the text on the page so it flows upward like a river in a piece about the lower Congo river, that becomes a sub-metaphor that makes the piece more heartfelt to the person reading it.
With the web, a lot of it is scrolling and spacebarring and using a keyboard, but there is not a lot of hand-to-object interaction. That is the wonder of the tablet: There is something about the touch screen that can be so intuitive and so gripping that it helps create better storytelling—but you have to strategize for it and you have to figure out what your users are expecting. We make usability testing part of production; we put it in the hands of people who don’t use iPads that often and see how they interact with it before we take the issue live.
Symbolia owes a big thanks to SPJ and the duPont-Columbia awards for hosting Erin and contributors Kat Fajardo and Audrey Quinn yesterday. We had a great time chatting with Columbia students about the future of journalism, comic books, and entrepreneurship.
duPont just posted a great roundup of the talk on Storify. Make sure to take a look. Special thanks to Abi and Sana for making this event happen.