Since the inception of “new media” journalism, newspapers and magazines have struggled to make sense of the multitude of emerging technologies that have changed the way news can be presented. Many media organizations have caught on, some are inundated, and many are still struggling to make sense of it all.
GOOD Magazine, the socially progressive publication for “people who give a damn” has not only made the most of burgeoning technologies like YouTube and Flash, but has also challenged traditional revenue models and publishing practices. Other media outlets take notice: This is how GOOD is changing the industry.
1. It understands video
Many media organizations have recognized the potential of YouTube channels as a way of promoting video segments and as a tie-in with an existing brand. However, a large portion of the video in these channels is unoriginal content that has been schlepped from a previous broadcast or video bank to pander to online viewers.
On the other hand, GOOD Magazine‘s YouTube channel is populated with a host of original and clever video infographics that synthesize complex topics in a few minutes. In addition to the videos below, the publication’s original five-part series on Skid Row, a section of Los Angeles populated by the homeless, proves that it is not a one trick video pony.
2. It can say a lot with few words
Since 2006, the California-based publication has been known for its visually stunning, yet easy to digest print infographics that are every bit as educational as their video counterparts. Some say the New York Times is the pillar of online graphics, but the marked difference between the two is GOOD approaches its subjects with a wink and a smile. In the flat graphics below, as well as interactive graphics like “Wanderlust,” an exploration of history’s greatest journeys, the mag maintains an unmistakable voice that makes it rise above its media peers.
3. It challenges the traditional price structure
Magazines have always had a set price. Pay any more and you will make some clerk very happy. Pay any less and prepare to be escorted to the nearest jail. GOOD Magazine, however, took a cue from Radiohead and decided to let potential subscribers pay what they want for the publication. Not only can readers give more or less than previous fixed rate of $20 a year, 100% of the revenue goes to various nonprofit organizations. A bunch of business types probably just let out a collective scream of horror, but the model seems to be working: GOOD has donated more than $850,000 to global non-profit organizations.
According to the site: “Our goal is to create a collaborative community of individuals, businesses, and non-profits. We feel that the content is the invitation into this community and we didn’t want to make the invitation too expensive.”
4. It takes the news to the people
Not too long ago, GOOD‘s pocket publication was featured as an innovative way of saving the 10,000-word story. While the 6×6 inch newspaper — available in select Starbucks locations — consists mostly of a large infographic rather than a slew of words, its innovation lies in the fact that it is both a free and easily accessible counterpart to the magazine.
Whereas decades ago newsstands populated the country, nowadays most casual magazine readers have to go to a bookstore (or the airport) to get their weekly news. Because the pint-sized paper is available in a coffee shop where customers are in a reading mood, it will potentially change how people will seek out print media.
5. It’s still a magazine
With all its revolutionary efforts in online news and pricing structures, GOOD Magazine is still a magazine. Whether it’s the mag’s thought-provoking articles like “How Not to Win the Presidency” or clever essays like “Save the Earth with Dirty Towels,” the portable version is a necessary counterpart to GOOD‘s web efforts. Most importantly, whatever media the publication is presented it in, the content is consistent and shares one equal voice.