In 2009-'11, the Penn State blogosphere took its wit and snark to the pages of the We Are Penn State preview magazines, published by Maple Street Press. It was a great three-year run, until MSP closed shop before the 2012 edition could be produced. All the better, since much of the world focused on the Penn State portrayed within the national media, and Penn State fans tried to focus on just about anything else.
But now it's 2013. And despite the efforts of some, and the expectations of everybody, there are some people playing football--good football--in Happy Valley. Let's go talk about that!
We Are... back! Sorta!
In order to free us from the shackles of corporate overlords and give our readers the best Penn State content available, we are calling upon the awesome power of the PSU Web community--those of you who most appreciate and can best recognize original and quality content--to back our endeavor, and bring back your favorite annual publication.
What We Are...
This is our second attempt after we initially failed to raise enough in a short time to get a print version done this year. But we spoke to the writers, and the designers, and the publisher, and rather than simply scrap the project, we all agreed we'd rather try again as an e-magazine so we can still get you all of the great content and establish ourselves for a print version next year. So long as we can raise enough to break even with the authors, the plan is to provide this as an e-book.
Obviously it's a little different than mailing printed magazines. We looked at a lot of different options for delivery and decided to go with one that allows you to access your copy in whatever way you want to. No DRM-y stuff. You'll be able to print it or make a pdf of it to read on your tablet or your phone, or download it to that and read it on a plane. You'll be able to email it to people too but we ask that you not 'cause it's copyrighted and it was not-free for you and very not-free for us to produce it. Like an mp3.
The e-magazine will remain 112 pages, the first half previewing the 2013 team and opponents. We will break down Penn State's schedule, its new high-power offense, its traditionally stout defense, and shockingly enough, a superb class of 2013.
Then come the features, with a lineup of superstar authors like:
Lou Prato, the renowned Penn State historian who will help us commemorate two decades of Big Ten membership by explaining how that all came about.
Chase Stuart, author of the highly respected statistics blog Football Perspective and a regular contributor to the New York Times.
Ben Jones, program insider and Penn State beat writer for StateCollege.com, who's topics will include a one-on-one discussion with famed Nittany Lion Wally Triplett.
...plus contributions from BSD editor emeritus Jeff Junstrom, internet legend/MGoBlog editor Brian Cook, and of course the top notch PSU blogging team from Black Shoe Diaries: Devon Edwards, Adam Collyer, Tim Hyland, Dan Vecellio, and Ben Scaff.
Who We Are...
Mike, Cari and Jared. Hi. The inconsequential details:
The Editorial Director is PSU Blogging capo Mike Pettigano (@MikePettigano), a 2006 graduate of Penn State’s College of Communications and the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, and a four-year member of the Penn State Blue Band. A news reporter and editor since graduation, he was one of the early sports bloggerati, starting up Zombie Nation in 2007. He later brought together some of the best Penn State bloggers to create Linebacker-U.com. He spent three seasons as a sideline photographer and managing editor of Black Shoe Diaries through the end of the 2012 football season, and also worked with Phil Steele. His writing has been cited by, among others, FOX Sports, Sports Illustrated OnCampus, Sporting News Today, The Baltimore Sun, and the Chicago Sun-Times. Mike is currently the Associate Digital News Editor for North Jersey Media Group.
Editor Cari Greene (@NotCarlotta) is the Managing Editor for Black Shoe Diaries. After graduating PSU in 2003 with a degree in film, she wallowed in the depths of retail management hell before getting a "real job" that allowed her to actually, you know, attend PSU football games. Cari lives in suburban Maryland, close enough to State College that she can make the trip every weekend but far enough away to not be all post-graduate creepy. She also really, really likes linebackers.
Editor Jared Slanina (@BSDtweet) is the other Managing Editor for Black Shoe Diaries. Despite being a lifelong Ohio resident, Jared has been a passionate and loyal Penn State fan throughout his life. He earned his master's degree in journalism from Kent State University and currently resides in Stow, Ohio, with his wife and two dogs. You can typically find Jared at Beaver Stadium most Saturdays in the fall, or in his "man cave" where he has three TVs set up to watch college football from noon until he drifts off watching a Pac-12 game late at night.
This is kinda out of the blue but my upper torso feels chilly.
You need a shirt, or better yet a hoodie. And exclusive to supporters of this kickstarter we have those available:
You can get a t-shirt for a $16 contribution, or as part of the BLUE-WHITE combo with a copy of the magazine and a thanks on BSD. Contribute $90 and we'll send you the hoodie along with your mag, and thank you personally in the magazine itself.
Why is the t-shirt a dollar more than before?
We originally planned to mail most of the shirts with books; defraying a lot of the cost of shipping both. Now we're mailing no books with shirts, and that changes the math of the shirts. We didn't think it fair to pass all of the difference on to you, so we passed a quarter of it on to you.
How do I get you my size, shipping info, all that jazz?
When the Kickstarter ends (and if it's successful) you'll get an email directing you to a web-form where you can put all of that information in, including your address to ship it to, size of the shirts, and if you're a top-level sponsor what message you'd like put in the book. If you'd like it to be in someone else's name, you can do it at that time.
Where does the money go, and why is there a Wolverine in our Lions' den?
Well if we don't get funded there is no money--you only get charged if we meet our goal. If we do get funded it goes to a bank account started last February by our publisher expressly for this project. In the future we'll have a corp set up to handle these for multiple blogs.
The Wolverine is our publisher, Seth Fisher (@Misopogon, facebook.com/Misopogon), who successfully put one of these together for MGoBlog last year, is doing that again on their site, and approached us about expanding the concept. Sadly there are people other than Penn State fans in this world whom we find useful enough to tolerate; rather than a building full of them at some publishing house, we have one, and this one is currently engaged in a long email chain with Ben Scaff over how he'd defeat Bill O'Brien's fullback ISO throwback play.
Risks and challenges
So guess what: we're not printing so we have a little more time, and it's a little less complicated.
We are deciding still on the e-printing platform, between Joomag, Issuu, Calameo, Bluetoad, or maybe just individually emailing the PDFs. Right now we're trying those out, and should have a decision in a few weeks. We've ruled out iBooks and Amazon because of limited distribution, gross overhead requirements, and their DRM; we want this to be as user-friendly as possible, and give you access to your e-magazine from all of your devices. We are not considering any ad-based systems.
Getting the editorial staff assembled wasn't much work and most of them have already submitted draft copies of their articles. Getting Cari to keep the linebackers preview under 8,000 words was a challenge. There are a lot of editor and publisher hours left sorting through thousands of photos, and all the design work yet remains before us.
Fortunately we have an experienced editorial staff on board, including Seth Fisher from MGoBlog who was the driving force behind their successful launch and production of a similar project for Michigan fans last year. We also have engaged the services of Courtney Fathers, one of the best art directors in the business, who has designed thousands of magazine issues, official team programs, and posters for major touring bands.
We still need to sort through, select, designate, and prep all the photos that our editors have accumulated from the Penn State sidelines, turn those and 200 pages worth of Word documents into finished pages, caption every cat in the book (internet rule: all cats require captions), and proof read, copy edit, title, paginate, zip, and ship every finished page.
And then we have to, you know, get the books (and the t-shirts) to you. For the latter we have partnered with Underground Printing, a hip collegiate apparel company hopefully coming soon to a Happy Valley near you, that has a long history of supporting college blogs. UGP not only can put out a professional shirt, but they're very well equipped to handle all the warehousing, fulfillment and distribution.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)