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5 Magazines That Started In Newsprint

5 Magazines That Started in Newsprint: Hotdog. Make and print your own newspaper with Newspaper Club

As we look forward to a year of exciting new magazines, we also recognise how daunting it can be to put together a publication from scratch. Happily, there looks to be a move towards "fast, cheap and fun" magazines in 2017. "Leaner, smaller, more nimble is the message, and I’m as convinced as anyone by this direction," says magCulture founder Jeremy Leslie.

Newspapers have long been the go-to for cost-effective and nimble publishing, but that's not all they're good for. With a bit of creativity, humble newsprint can be an unexpected and experimental format – as we've seen from some of the great titles that got started in newsprint.

We reached out to the people behind 5 of these magazines to find out why they chose to put their publications in newsprint.

5 Magazines That Started in Newsprint: Hotdog. Make and print your own newspaper with Newspaper Club


Feminist literary zine Hotdog offers an honest and accessible approach to poetry, with a format featuring collage, QR codes and, naturally, hot dog emojis.

"We were really inspired by the rough and ready, DIY vibe you get from newsprint. Everything about Hotdog is a labour of love – and we didn't have a whole lot of money to get started with. Newsprint meant that we could get issue one out into the wild without breaking the bank. One year later, issue 1 of Hotdog is still looking hella sexy." –Megan Conery and Molly Taylor, Editors

5 Magazines That Started in Newsprint: Crow Pie. Make and print your own newspaper with Newspaper Club

Crow Pie

Imagined as "a response to a rejection letter or edits that make you feel like a loser," Crow Pie is an outlet for offbeat storytelling. The first issue explores how people deal with death, featuring essays on taxidermy, the corpse flower and what to eat at a funeral.

"We wanted to kick off our publication with a smaller run that wasn't really a zine, nor was it a full glossy magazine. We were able to strike this balance with newsprint, and I've always wanted to design for the format.

A broadsheet is not something you see very often these days, even less so than tabloid newsprint, so it was an interesting challenge to think about the experience of reading something on such a large format. It also gave us the opportunity to include a large color poster as the center spread, which was something Alicia [Forneret] and I really loved the idea of.

There's something unique about the lifespan of newsprint, which in many ways is the opposite of printing something with archival ink/paper and a perfect binding. As a physical object, newsprint is both fragile and resilient: the paper ages and yellows but the object remains, so you have a real sense of its existence in the world." –Kyle Sheehan, Art Director

5 Magazines That Started in Newsprint: Firewords Quarterly. Make and print your own newspaper with Newspaper Club

Firewords Quarterly

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, literary journal Firewords Quarterly launched in 2014. Since then, the non-profit magazine has been nominated for a Stack Award two years running.

"It can be difficult to get people to notice when starting a project from scratch. We started Firewords on newsprint because we love the familiarity of it. People are so used to picking up newspapers and browsing through them that we thought it was a great way to introduce them to something new.

Our mission was to get more people reading short fiction, so this approachability, coupled with our strong focus on visuals, was a big part of that – we wanted to stand out and do things differently to most existing literary journals. The tactility of our teaser Issue Zero (which was a tabloid) proved so popular that we printed Issue 1 as a mini." –Dan Burgess, Editor

5 Magazines That Started in Newsprint: Shelf Heroes. Make and print your own newspaper with Newspaper Club

Shelf Heroes

Celebrating cinema one letter at a time, film zine Shelf Heroes launched with a simple call to action: "Watch a film that begins with the letter A. Go create something."

"I published the first issue of Shelf Heroes as a newspaper because it was the perfect way to test the water for my slightly odd magazine idea. I was able to quickly and cheaply get Shelf Heroes out there in the world, see what the reaction was and grow it from there."

"Magazines are so great because they can shift and change in content and format from issue to issue. Who's to say Shelf Heroes won't become a newspaper again at some point!" –Ben Smith, Editor

5 Magazines That Started in Newsprint: Penny. Make and print your own newspaper with Newspaper Club


Dedicated to illustrated flash prose, Penny launched not one, but two print editions for their first issue: a perfect-bound magazine and a digital tabloid newspaper. They polled their readers to pick the final format – and newsprint won!

"I’ve been obsessed with newsprint for years. Penny is named after The Penny Magazine, an illustrated British magazine published in the 19th century – on newsprint!

When we discussed the first print issue of Penny, I seized on the chance to see our wonderful illustrations printed large enough to feel like it's your whole world in that minute. Newsprint also adds a new level of interactivity, as the illustrations get second lives as posters. –Kate Thomas, Editor

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