For their degree show last year the students had a great idea to transform a humble newspaper into something different.
Their publication, called ‘Checkout’ was designed to look like a receipt. They printed a standard tabloid newspaper, but designed it in such a way that it could be guillotined into two halves, trimmed and then bound (with a fantastically low-fi rubber band) to make a small booklet.
We had a board meeting last week. You can see half of it above via the magic of timelapse. (The half of the table you mostly see consists of Tom and Gary. The half you briefly glimpse is Anne & Ben. You never see me.)
Lots of things were decided. Much exciting news was newsed. But the best bit was this, as detailed in Gary’s CEO memo:
“In our second full year of trading we’re very proud to say that we’re profitable. We’re not talking about a lot of money – just single figures as a percentage of our sales. However, it is enough to help ensure we can keep providing the levels of service that our customers seem to really appreciate. It’s also just enough to allow us to invest in developing our service.
We now employ full-time in Glasgow and London a small team of very clever people who are working on new Newspaper Club products. They’re developing ways to convert disparate pieces of useful and interesting digital information into printed formats that make it all a real pleasure to read.
It’s an exciting time. We really believe that this pretty hoary old medium has a lot of life yet in it. In fact, the potential of newsprint is enormous – but only when it’s usefully integrated with the web. Hold the front page!”
Exciting isn’t it?
There are some changes afoot – me, Gary and Anne are getting new titles, we’ve got plans for new products and we need to talk about investment – Anne’s going to add some more detail on all that later in the week. (Unless you’ve got a few hundred grand going spare, in which case gives us a shout). In the meantime; we’re in our second year of trading, we’re employing great people, we’ve got brilliant customers and we’re making an actual profit. Hurrah.
Our friend Matt has written a fascinating (and detailed) post on his blog about his Paper Science project. We love seeing what people do with Newspaper Club and Paper Science is one of the most ambitious ventures to date – a year of publishing, four anthologies of brilliant comics in newspaper form. They’re really lovely things and you can still buy a complete set for just a tenner. If you’re in any way interested in publishing projects, comics and the new economics of creativity you should give it a read. It’s comprehensive and fascinating.
It’s fantastic to see some of the projects and ventures people hang off Newspaper Club and Paper Science is one of our favourites. Matt tried to do some ambitious things with subscriptions and delivery and though we couldn’t help to the extent we’d have liked it’s been the inspiration for a lot of the secret things Engineering have been working on. So, buy some papers from Matt and watch this space.