Thursday, May 23, 2013

goRogue, a new digital-only community magazine for Grande Prairie, Alberta, shows off the Mag+ platform

Sometimes one gets a little tired of constantly having to point out what seems so obvious to me, that there are many, many new magazine start-ups being launched that are producing exceptional work. These new start-ups are producing tablet editions, of course, but they rarely get any attention from the established media trade press (in one case, an editor told me he doesn't even own an iPad, his publisher hadn't approved the purchase).

Even the digital publishing vendors supporting these new start-ups have a hard time keeping up. I received a notice of what looks like a great new app from IDG UK the other day and had to pass it off to a guest writer (who will be writing up a post next week) while noticing that another digital magazine had launched that very day using the same platform.

goRogue is the work of Ellen MacCormac, a photographer and graphic designer who is now publishing under the business name of EXPOSURE photo design publishing in Grand Prairie, Alberta. The new digital magazine is, in fact, all about its community, a city of about 55,000 tucked into the northwest corner of the Canadian province, north of Edmonton.

I've been to Edmonton, and like many dumb Americans, couldn't possibly imagine anyone actually living north of that hockey town. Thanks to MacCormac I now know better, and promise to keep an open mind about these things in the future.

Let's celebrate new thinking, fresh ideas. Like any community project, collaboration is needed to complete our story. Interviews, opinions, hobbies of individuals - written by the public, like YOU, or covered as a feature by me - these are the things that collectively create our culture, and this is how I aim to cultivate it over time. I see culture as made up of the senses, and aim to capture Grande Prairie's essence through this interactive medium. – app description
MacCormac uses the Mag+ platform to build her digital magazine and for those thinking about the platform I found goRogue quite instructional.

Despite building layouts for both portrait and landscape (landscape is seen in the video walk-through) the file size is a modest 182 MB. I would bet that the same magazine built using the Adobe DPS would have been twice the size (but I'm only guessing).

goRogue uses all the floating text boxes you can imagine, probably too many of them. But for other publishers or art directors looking to use Mag+ one can see great examples right here in one digital magazine.

The new digital magazine is to be produced quarterly, and a subscription will be only $0.99, with single issues priced at the same level. MacCormac told me that the app was supposed to be priced at $0.99, as well, but is appearing as free for now. Pricing the app at the cost of the first issue makes sense in order to discourage downloads of the app that won't lead to a sale of the magazine – after all, many vendors charge for app downloads – but then the first issue inside the app needs to be free, too, though this often leads to a loss of subscriptions. Decisions, decisions.