This Brand’s Readers are All In on the Joke

There has been a lot of news the last few years around reader-funded magazines and publicly driven news, as ad-funded journalism continues to take its lumps.

Let’s add The Nib for the win in that regard. Speaking with Stack founder Steven Watson, founder and editor Matt Bors shares his personal journey around The Nib, a magazine that uses comics to tell the story around many of the big issues in our world.

“It’s a visual medium,” Bors said when Watson asked why he believes cartoons are so compelling. “It’s good for relaying information, for telling a story, for connecting. And on the political cartoon side of things,” he continues, “satire is really effective.”

The magazine, which launched online first, takes the realities of today’s political and social landscape and interprets them into simple yet effective cartoons, a move that Bors feels makes the content more consumable and sharable.

With just three issues per year, the challenge is how to stay relevant to the news cycle. His answer is the website, which continues to publish daily to keep the audience engaged and the content current in real-time. This mix — of print and online — is part of the engine that now fuels the reader-funded indie title.

“We are a daily publication online,” Bors says, “and our magazine subscribers really are members. To us you’re not really just subscribing to the magazine; you’re supporting the entire existence of the publication.”

The brand has claimed its independence from previous “big money” owners — they started online with Medium, then First Look Media — and is now entirely reader-funded, in what Bors describes as a “more sane” business model. While the support of both of those companies was vitally important to building an audience, he is excited by the fact that The Nib is now firmly independent.

“We’re a lot smaller now,” he explains, “but it’s entirely reader-support and it’s based entirely off of people reading our print magazine and becoming members.”

For lovers of political satire cleverly wrought in comic form, The Nib is a must-see.