Media alumnae launch new global magazine
2 April 2013
Despite dwindling circulation figures plaguing the magazine industry worldwide, two resourceful Media and Communications (MECO) alumnae are seizing an opportunity where others see pessimism.
Spotting a niche in the shrinking market for a publication truly geared for both male and female readers, former classmates Laura Bannister and Rosie Dalton decided to fill the gap by launching a new international title, BRACE magazine.
The biannual, independent magazine, edited between Sydney and New York (where Dalton is now based), is intended to feel "more like a book - a coffee table keepsake" than a conventional magazine, according to co-editor Bannister.
"There will always be people who love the tactility of print and find it pleasurable," she said. "Small-circulation publications - 'indies' as Sydney University academic Dr Megan Le Masurier refers to them - offer an intersection of digital and print media, gathering fans and contributors through digital mediums and translating themselves to a paper format.
"Perhaps it's a strange move to begin a magazine in the current economic climate or digital shift - I believe it's a necessary and needed response."
And though their ideal readers are forward-thinking, tech-savvy young professionals, the editors are keen to capture those who still seek a well-made "hold-in-your-hands" publication.
"We recognised an increasing tendency toward online-based mediums and wanted to breathe new life into the Australian print tradition," Dalton said.
"I predict there will be a shift toward smaller print runs and a mindset focused around magazines as collectible items. I think this is actually very fertile ground for introducing a brand new title and I believe we will see many more small, niche publications cropping up over the next few years."
The pair describes an editorial vision focused on creating a magazine that is intimate yet international. Targeting a design-conscious readership, irrespective of the gender divisions traditionally dictating magazine content, has resulted in an eclectic and fresh publication.
"Increasingly, men and women's interests are becoming imagined in less distinct ways, so we feel it is important to introduce a publication that can speak to them both; something that both genders can be excited to pick up," said Dalton.
"There are a lot of women's fashion magazines that claim to appeal to men as well, but in reality, there's little more than a shoot or two of relevance to them," Bannister agreed.
A desire to go against the grain of slapdash journalism was another key consideration in their new project.
"Many magazines are increasingly using 'lazy' journalism, throwing together a Q&A with a short, poorly researched introduction and forgetting that they have the chance to construct beautiful, engaging cultural journalism in every issue," Bannister said. "We wanted to curate strong, well-researched writing and images in a print setting."
Among the line-up of contributors in the inaugural issue is former beauty editor of vogue.com.au, Anni Hall, stylist and Vogue contributor, Megha Kapoor, as well a as host of artists, designers and photographers from across the globe. With the launch issue featuring interviews with Russian graffiti artist Nikita Nomerz and founder of luxury candle label Maison Balzac, Elise Pioch, the editors have tapped a vein that revels in all things creative and unconventional.
While the prospect of launching a new magazine just a year out of University across two time zones seems an impossible challenge, the only questions in Bannister's mind were "Why not? What's stopping us?"
"Logistically it means a lot of Skype meetings in the depth of night or morning and an incessant amount of conversation via email. Luckily, I can run on little sleep," she said.
Both Dalton and Bannister have arrived at the helm of their own magazine title from an extensive background in the print industry. Bannister has written for such publications as RUSSH, Dossier Journal and Fallen, while Dalton has contributed to Oyster and The New York Post.
The duo attributes the broad scope of their MECO degree as a "crucial" factor in realising their print aspirations. As Dalton noted, studies in such subjects as public relations and online media invariably filtered into the magazine production process.
"It allows you to get a taste for multiple different facets beneath the vast 'media' umbrella," she explained. "Although magazine journalism has become our chosen path, the knowledge we have gained in all other areas has also been invaluable because, in the end, all these things are intertwined."
Moreover, the close-knit collegiality amongst their MECO peers proved fruitful when recruiting writers for BRACE.
"I loved the dynamism of Sydney University's campus, the small cohort of MECO students and the positive, collaborative community amongst Arts students," said Bannister. "Funnily enough, there are two other Media graduates (who are now established writers) involved in the issue."
Dalton added: "A lot of love has been poured into this tome of ours and we hope that everyone else will enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed making it!"
The pre-sale of BRACE Issue 1 is available online now, with the title formally launching at a special event in early April.
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Contact: Emily Jones
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