Finding stuff they like and sharing it; that’s the basic premise behind the site It’s Nice That. Favorite books, happy animations and an upbeat look at tech advances adorn the current home page (no political angst or social drama, which really is pretty nice).
For Rob Alderson, interpreting the site into a printed format was a discovery in learning how print and digital can work together, separate but equal in the publishing model. Alderson was interviewed for the book Independence by Jeremy Leslie, and that interview is excerpted in a MagCulture article.
Leslie asked Alderson about the difference in editorial direction for the magazine; does it go into more depth than the site content?
“Yes. And I think that was one of the challenges in re-naming the magazine. For a long time there was this confusion about what the site was trying to do and what the magazine was trying to do,” Alderson replied. “They were called the same thing, but people weren’t used to picking something up with It’s Nice That’s branding on it and finding a 2,500 interview with the wife of an Alzheimer-suffering photographer, that wasn’t the kind of thing we were known for.”
To help reframe the context, the magazine was renamed Printed Pages, and it dovetails in nicely with the site, the design studio and their events program.
“We wanted it to be recognizably It’s Nice That and to not jar with It’s Nice That in terms of tone or values. But we wanted it to have its own identity,” he explains.
They use the same editorial team across channels, which lends some nice consistency of tone. Yet it stands on its own in terms of the business.
“We made a decision early on that we wanted Printed Pages not to be bankrolled to any other part of the business,” Alderman explains. “Every part of the business has to be self-sufficient and stand on its own two feet, and I think otherwise you get an odd relationship between say the time you’re spending on the website as opposed to the magazine, if one is bankrolling the other then that can all get a bit confusing and a bit messy. It’s a huge frustration.”
He admits the business side can be tough and notes that you have to know why you’re doing it and carry that passion through. And it’s that difference that means life or death in today’s magazine climate.
“There was the print is dead debate ten years ago, ‘Oh my god, magazines are going to die’, and what actually happened is s**t magazines died, and that’s fine,” Alderman says. “They don’t have the right to exist and they maybe didn’t know why they were printing a magazine – and I think that a similar thing will happen if people are doing a light version of something that already exists.”
For Printed Pages, it seems it’s earning its right to exist and holding its own in a new publishing model. We wish them continued success.