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Creative Director Leo Jung Dishes Font with Typorn

Will Adler underwater surfing photo
(Photograph by Will Adler.)

“A national magazine for the west coast. I realized that this was the opportunity that I was waiting for. It was a challenge unlike any other — head up the creative for a brand new magazine for print, digital, and live events. Oh, and build it from the ground up. Its potential was as big as I wanted it to be. Its creative vision would be mine to define. That’s not something any already-renowned magazine could ever really offer. For the first time, I didn’t have the reputation of a company to define me. The blank canvas was as scary as it was exciting.”

From California Sunday creative director Leo Jung’s interview with Typorn. More words, photos, and layouts here.

Roy Choi in California Sunday

Pop-Up Magazine Comes to LA

Ace Hotel Marquee
(Photo credit: Leo Jung.)

Earlier this month (Thursday 11/13/14), Pop-Up Magazine, the live-events arm of California Sunday, returned to San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall for the first time since Song Reader, the music-themed special issue created in collaboration with Beck and McSweeney’s in May 2013. According to Deborah Vankin, an LA Times reporter:

The scene was a beautiful, chaotic mess, a mashup of live music, animation and rollicking storytelling for about 2,600 people filling Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. So ravenous was the crowd for Pop-Up Magazine’s particular brand of storytelling — original magazine-style nonfiction, told aloud and through still photography, recorded interviews and short films, with many pieces accompanied by live “soundtracks” — that the Nov. 13 event had sold out online in about 15 minutes.

Pop-Up Magazine after-party

Afterward, the crowd streamed into the lobby rotunda for what some described as a deafening party that went on for hours. The bars were packed with gregarious guests savoring and retelling the stories they had heard….

Her review also highlights a handful of stories from prior live “issues” of Pop-Up Magazine:

At a 2009 show, shortly before he died, photographer Larry Sultan narrated images from a photo album he’d found 30 years earlier at a flea market, retelling the life story of a young man who shipped off to war. At another show, “Toy Story 3″ director Lee Unkrich used film clips to give a behind-the-scenes look at how he sound-edited a single line of dialogue in the movie. Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Sam Green has shown a narrative short about fog in San Francisco, accompanied by live music. Author Michael Pollan and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker have read nonfiction stories. Pop-Up has even had “special issues,” like an all-music show in 2013, a collaboration with Beck and novelist Dave Eggers’ publishing company, McSweeney’s, that featured live music and stories about music.

Last week (Wednesday 11/19/14) Pop-Up Magazine performed its first event for Los Angeles fans, at the United Artists Theatre at the Ace Hotel. Table of Contents here. The stories themselves aren’t recorded or republished online, but writer Jessica Langlois retells a few of her favorite shorts and features from the LA show here.

Pop-Up Magazine Table of Contents

Sponsors included MailChimp, Google Play, Nest, and Converse. Like the stories themselves, sponsor messages are delivered from the stage. In between editorial stories, with the word “Advertisement” projected above the stage in big letters, short sponsored vignettes are performed as branded entertainment in miniature.

Nest Gallery at Pop-Up Magazine
A Nest-sponsored gallery installation at the after-party features art pieces commissioned by Nest for “story ads” in The California Sunday Magazine.


The after-party featured a soundtrack curated by Google Play, with songs prompted by the most recent film in the “California Inspires Me” series, a collaboration between Google Play and the California Sunday story ad studio.

The California Sunday Magazine Launches This Weekend

California Sunday October 2014 Print Cover

We’ve been working on The California Sunday Magazine for more than a year, and this weekend we publish the debut issue (digital yesterday, print tomorrow). Stories by Carina Chocano, Daniel Alarcon, Carolina Miranda, Roland Kelts, Nicole Allan, Lauren Smiley, Heather Hansman, Mark Arax, and Pendarvis Harshaw; photographs by Will Adler, Holly Andres, Omar Lucas, Daniel Shea, Gui Martinez, Dru Donovan, and Ian Allen; illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton, Tucker Nichols, and Christopher David Ryan; a conversation between Gia Coppola and Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy; an animated film by Brian Rea and Pablo Declan, narrated by filmmaker Mike Mills; some wonderful ads (some produced in partnership with our “story ads” team) from Lexus, Google Play, Nest, MailChimp, the University of California, Ace Hotel, the California Endowment, and Chronicle Books; and nice editor’s letter from my partner in crime, Doug McGray.

Some of the coverage:

“Will This New Magazine Be California’s Answer to the ‘New Yorker’?”
Mother Jones

“The organizers of Pop-Up Magazine have turned their franchise into something even more old-fashioned: a media company with a print edition. Starting on Oct. 2, their company, California Sunday, will publish original articles by (and largely for) Californians on a mobile app and website as well as in a glossy, monthly print edition packaged with Sunday issues of the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and Sacramento Bee.”
Bloomberg Businessweek

“Part of Pop-Up’s success…is that it capitalizes on a desire for a lean-back media experience — it’s held at night and the audience often gathers at a bar after the event. ‘We spend so much time scanning media at our desks, it’s hard to pay attention,’ McGray says. ‘We’re distracted.’ He predicted that a digital and print product that arrived only on the weekend would also fit this leisure-time niche. Based on initial reactions to the magazine, he seems to be on to something.”
NiemanLab

“We’re launching a magazine that has a print title…. People read so many different ways. There are people who only read on their phones, there are people who really like tablets, and there are people who hate tablets and really love their laptops, and there are people who love nothing more than print. We like the idea of being wherever it is that people read.”
–Editor Doug McGray on KPCC Public Radio

“For everyone out there who’s a fan of Pop-Up Magazine’s superb live storytelling, but wishes the team behind it would give you something to read at your leisure, check this out.”
The Bold Italic

“That means California Sunday Magazine will debut on the Web, across a range of devices (Apple iPhone, Google Android, Amazon Kindle), as well as a print insert to 400,000 selected readers of the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Sacramento Bee.”
Re/Code

“Original, thoughtful content (stories, photography and illustrations) will be shared by way of a subscription-based mobile app and website, as well as a monthly printed edition packaged for free with the Sunday issues of the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee (delivering an immediate 400,000-person circulation). This is a publication made with Californians in mind, and meant to rival the literary magazine hub of New York City.”
Cool Hunting

“We’re a magazine of stories, mostly about people. We’re interested in the lives lived all around us. We like vivid characters and surprising plots. And we’re curious about everything: culture, politics, science, business, food, entertainment, social issues, technology, art, and more.”
–Editor Doug McGray in Los Angeles Magazine

“The first issue has advertising from eight companies, including Nest, Lexus, Google…. Some of the spots are ‘story advertisements,’ such as a Lexus ad structured as a travel piece on Napa and Sonoma wine country. That ad follows the magazine’s ethos: It’s a storytelling publication, meant to be read at a leisurely, weekend pace…. Not for nothing is it being discussed as ‘California’s answer to The New Yorker.’”
Columbia Journalism Review

“The magazine is made in California. So when it comes to photography, whenever possible we use artists who have a deep, authentic connection to this place, creatively and personally. And that authenticity can be seen in their photographs. We always want to surprise readers. California Sunday imagery will feel cinematic, thought-provoking, not overly stylized or retouched. A sense of place is really important to the magazine, so there won’t be a lot of studio photography.”
–Photo director Jackie Bates in aPhotoEditor

“Filled with stories and photography focused on California culture from all its myriad micro-universes.”
Boing Boing

“What makes the print magazine scalable from the start is a deal that the company has struck with the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Sacramento Bee…. [The] new company will continue to produce [Pop-Up Magazine shows] as well as what it considers weekend reading: meaty narrative storytelling.”
Fast Company

“[The] California Sunday Magazine has a diabolically clever distribution strategy: It will appear in the Sunday editions of several major California newspapers.”
Bernalwood

“A new weekly magazine called California Sunday was announced this morning, and reaction was immediate and joyous. The very creative business idea is to put the print mag inside the state’s biggest Sunday papers, while having all the websites and apps that are exciting to new-media people but can’t charge Sunday paper ad rates.”
Gawker (from earlier in the year)

“The print title forms the core of a new media company born of a partnership of new and old media professionals: former Digg.com and Federated Media exec Chas Edwards and Douglas McGray, a magazine writer for titles like Wired and the New Yorker and impresario of a live series of Bay Area events, Pop Up Magazine.”
International Business Times

“The monthly, print-side [of California Sunday's] business model is most intriguing. Not only does it give them instant traction at both the advertiser and circulation-base ends. But if successful, it could prove to be a model of revenue for other grouped regional newspapers.”
Mediabistro

“That’s not the only asset the team is bringing to bear. California Sunday also has a successful event strategy — it’s folding McGray’s popular Pop-Up Magazine series into the company as well. And it has built a studio to help brands execute content marketing inside the magazine’s pages. Oh, and it has some of the best talent in the state, from Michael Pollan to Farhad Manjoo, as contributors.”
John Battelle’s Searchblog

“McGray and Edwards’ impressive editorial team includes: creative director Leo Jung, formerly the design director at Wired and deputy art director at the New York Times Magazine, and photography director Jacqueline Bates, previously the senior photo editor of W magazine. She also worked in the photo departments of ELLE, Interview, and Wired.”
Society of Publication Designers

“The California Sunday Magazine, a new general-interest monthly that’s launching in print, online and on phones and tablets in early October, is taking content marketing to a new place: the stage.”
Digiday

“Helmed by S.F.’s Douglas McGray (editor and co-creator of Pop-Up Magazine and contributor to This American Life and The New Yorker), California Sunday is about gorgeous photography and evocative longform reporting on the stories that make our fair state the beautiful beast she is. And they’ve got the chops to pull it off, with behind-the-scenes talent from Wired, the New York Times, W Magazine and Digg alongside Cali’s deep bench of proven storytellers and visual artists.”
Inside Hook

Pop-Up Magazine: Dinner 9/24/14

Last week my colleagues put together Dinner, a special food edition of Pop-Up Magazine: Sixteen food-themed stories served up alongside a meal created by chef and food writer Samin Nosrat. Some artifacts from the evening.

Pop-Up Magazine Dinner menu
A pop-up menu for Pop-Up Magazine.

Tucker Nichols napkin
Napkins by Tucker Nichols that suggest topics for conversation.

Wendy MacNaughton infographic water glass
Water glass infographic by Wendy MacNaughton to illustrate the California draught.

Memory cookies from Pop-Up Magazine
Sixteen small cookies, each built around an ingredient featured in one of the evening’s stories — from subtle (water) to unusual (charcoal and smoke) to daring (chicken fat).

Here Comes California Sunday

The California Sunday Magazine

Today we announced the launch of The California Sunday Magazine. We’ll debut on October 5 on the web, for iPhone and iPad, on Android and Kindle devices, and also in print — delivered with select Sunday copies of the LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Sacramento Bee. Each month we’ll publish thoughtful, reported features and beautiful photography and illustrations set in California, the West, Asia, and Latin America, for a national audience. You can sign up now for read-everywhere membership here.

The new title will publish alongside Pop-Up Magazine, the live magazine. With Pop-Up Magazine for nights and The California Sunday Magazine for weekends, we’re focused on making media for your leisure time.

Here are some initial reactions:

“For everyone out there who’s a fan of Pop-Up Magazine’s superb live storytelling, but wishes the team behind it would give you something to read at your leisure, check this out.”
The Bold Italic

“That means California Sunday Magazine will debut on the Web, across a range of devices (Apple iPhone, Google Android, Amazon Kindle), as well as a print insert to 400,000 selected readers of the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Sacramento Bee.”
Re/Code

“Filled with stories and photography focused on California culture from all its myriad micro-universes.”
Boing Boing

“What makes the print magazine scalable from the start is a deal that the company has struck with the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Sacramento Bee…. [The] new company will continue to produce [Pop-Up Magazine shows] as well as what it considers weekend reading: meaty narrative storytelling.”
Fast Company

“A new weekly magazine called California Sunday was announced this morning, and reaction was immediate and joyous. The very creative business idea is to put the print mag inside the state’s biggest Sunday papers, while having all the websites and apps that are exciting to new-media people but can’t charge Sunday paper ad rates.”
Gawker (from earlier in the year)

“The print title forms the core of a new media company born of a partnership of new and old media professionals: former Digg.com and Federated Media exec Chas Edwards and Douglas McGray, a magazine writer for titles like Wired and the New Yorker and impresario of a live series of Bay Area events, Pop Up Magazine.”
International Business Times

“The monthly, print-side [of California Sunday's] business model is most intriguing. Not only does it give them instant traction at both the advertiser and circulation-base ends. But if successful, it could prove to be a model of revenue for other grouped regional newspapers.”
Mediabistro

“That’s not the only asset the team is bringing to bear. California Sunday also has a successful event strategy — it’s folding McGray’s popular Pop-Up Magazine series into the company as well. And it has built a studio to help brands execute content marketing inside the magazine’s pages. Oh, and it has some of the best talent in the state, from Michael Pollan to Farhad Manjoo, as contributors.”
John Battelle’s Searchblog

“McGray and Edwards’ impressive editorial team includes: creative director Leo Jung, formerly the design director at Wired and deputy art director at the New York Times Magazine, and photography director Jacqueline Bates, previously the senior photo editor of W magazine. She also worked in the photo departments of ELLE, Interview, and Wired.”
Society of Publication Designers

“The California Sunday Magazine, a new general-interest monthly that’s launching in print, online and on phones and tablets in early October, is taking content marketing to a new place: the stage.”
Digiday

“Helmed by S.F.’s Douglas McGray (editor and co-creator of Pop-Up Magazine and contributor to This American Life and The New Yorker), California Sunday is about gorgeous photography and evocative longform reporting on the stories that make our fair state the beautiful beast she is. And they’ve got the chops to pull it off, with behind-the-scenes talent from Wired, the New York Times, W Magazine and Digg alongside Cali’s deep bench of proven storytellers and visual artists.”
Inside Hook

Stanford’s Future of Media 2014: Stats and Sources

Earlier today I did a talk at Stanford’s Future of Media conference. The infographic notes version looks like this, courtesy of Nick deWild:

Inforgraphic notes by Nick deWild

Here are links to sources for the stats and quotes I cited:

MIT’s Ethan Zuckerman proposes that we measure media attention in units called Kardashians.

NBC’s Jeff Zucker says “we are trading analog dollars for digital dimes.” (More recently he’s upgraded dimes to quarters.)

Google’s Hal Varian on news readership habits by platform is published here and here.

We bought 457 million eBooks in 2012.

Barack Obama is a binge-watcher.

Buzzfeed readers who read that 6000-word article on Detroit real-estate on their phones spent, on average, 25 minutes doing so.

You can read the rest of Caitlin Flanagan’s feature, The Dark Power of Fraternities, here. And Amy Chua’s story, Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior, here.

Estimates that House of Cards has between two and five million viewers come from here.

People who read the Sunday paper spend, on average, 57 minutes.

Which Format Is Best for Premium Publishing?

I gave a very short presentation today at sfBIG‘s The Big Minute on the topic of reading habits across devices and settings. (If it takes you longer than 80 seconds to read this post, you read slower than I talk!)

The California Sunday Magazine

1 minute
Time we spend reading a newspaper’s website, which we tend to do at work on a laptop.

5 minutes
Time we spend, on average, reading a Buzzfeed list, which we also do mostly at work.

25 minutes
Time spent reading that 6000-word Buzzfeed story about Detroit, if we were among the people who read the story on a phone.

27 minutes
Time we spend reading the newspaper, if we get the print version and read it over breakfast.

57 minutes
Time we spend reading the Sunday print newspaper, since — presumably — breakfast on Sunday lasts longer.

115 minutes
Time we spent tuned-in to the last live issue of Pop-Up Magazine, an evening of “performance journalism” that takes place periodically at Davies Symphony Hall on a week-night after work.

So then, I asked, which publishing form-factor is best if the goal is to maximize reading minutes? Is it the Web, smartphones, printed magazines, or maybe live events performed onstage? How about stone tablets??

Actually: Format doesn’t really matter. The relevant factor, it turns out, is where we do our reading. You’ll get the best results, as a publisher, if you reach a reader outside of work — away from the distractions of email, IM, meetings and, well, work. People engage much more deeply with media when they’re at the breakfast table before work, or at night or during the weekend. If you can reach a person during those windows of leisure time, he or she will give you a whole lot more attention.

(Sources: 1, 27 and 57 come from here; 5 and 25 from here; and 115 from the official time-keeper at Pop-Up Magazine.)