dispatches: A New Quarterly to Help Us Keep Up With Ourselves

issue_one_cover.jpgNow might seem like a strange time to launch a print magazine, particularly a quarterly aimed at taking the longer view on things, but that hasn’t stopped Mort Rosenblum, a former editor at the International Herald Tribune and longtime international correspondent for the AP, from doing just that. The result is dispatches, which launches this month.

When FishbowlNY spoke to Rosenblum by phone it was clear he was enormously enthused about the project. Its main goal, he says, is to provide a place where the stories of the day can be allowed to evolve and “human beings can be writ large.”

What’s happening it that there is a lot of unfair of lumping together of things and news stories end up missing important points. We decided what’s really missing is a very leisurely, but perceptive, take that adds context, and backdrop, and human reality.

The initial idea for the magazine emerged through a number of conversations (in varying exotic locales) that Rosenblum had with long-time friend and photo-journalist Gary Knight. When the two mentioned their thinking to pharmaceutical entrepreneur Simba Gill he decided to get involved and “on a handshake, committed a lot of money.”

According to Rosenblum each issue will be a “mosaic” on a particular theme and consist of four essays and one photo essay, equaling out to about 25,000 words of copy. The inaugural issue is titled “In America” and features contributions from the likes of Samantha Power (on American exceptionalism) and Paul Theroux (on the decline of hitchhiking). The next issue will look at Iraq “as a pond and at the ripples; at all the things that have changed in the world as a result of Iraq.” Contributors will include NPR correspondent (and personal favorite) Jamie Tarabay.

When asked whether dispatches material would also be available at the website, Rosenblum stressed that the two were separate entities and that the editors were “intentionally running against the current” by adhering to print as the medium. Not that he has anything against blogs, in fact he told us that dispatches is “meant for people who read blogs, but who also want these things sitting on their shelve to absorb what they need as backdrop.” Ideally, Rosenblum says, he envisions the quarterly to be something you “stick in your pocket, or pour yourself a drink, and think about.”