Erin Polgreen’s iPad-based magazine of comics journalism, Symbolia, gets previewed as part of Christopher Borrelli’s look at the rise of non-fiction comics journalism. Polgreen was in town a while ago and showed us some samples of the project— not only was the lineup of creators impressive, but Polgreen has the smarts and focus to make Symbolia a must-read.
Last spring, after landing $34,000 in grants from the International Women’s Media Foundation, McCormick Foundation and J-Lab, an American University-based center that promotes fresh approaches to old-school journalism, she posted an online call for submissions for Symbolia. In less than two weeks, she received more than 80 pitches from journalists and cartoonists. She selected a handful of artists and writers to work with. She insisted her contributors submit audio clips of interviews, photos, contact numbers. And then, once stories began to come in, she hired a fact checker to sift through each one. “I want this to work within journalism structures that already exist,” she said. Pieces may resemble comic books, but everything is factual. Every quote is a real quote, and every person in the story exists (or once existed) in the real world, and every situation really happened.
You know, journalism.
WARNING: This Chicago Tribune link will force you to sign-up, order newsletters and make it pancakes in order to read the piece. Bummer.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.