Photo News: Issue 5 of Once Magazine – a monthly photojournalism iPad publication now available for download

“It’s a classic format redesigned for the tablet age”

It’s not that often people share good news stories especially when they involve developing business models for a digital publication focusing on photojournalism that actually pays its contributors. But magazine editor Andrew Jones wrote to me recently with just such a story. Yes, you heard me correctly. Once Magazine‘s mission is “to directly support and reinvigorate visual storytelling by creating a new model of publishing, which not only offers photographers, writers, and illustrators a creative, experiential, and expanded format on a high-quality platform, but also remonetizes photojournalism by sharing revenue directly with contributors”.

Unlike many other online photography magazines and ventures that seem to have given up trying to find a way to make it pay, they simply take the familiar line – we don’t pay photographers for content. This is in line with many photography publications including the British Journal of Photography, Amateur Photographer, F2 and Hotshoe where contributing photographers do not receive any money for providing images for use in features as it’s seen as promotion for the photographer. However, with all these publications writers do get paid although the rate varies, depending on the publication. I’ve contributed to all of them, so I write from experience. However, many other publications, both print and online photogrphy magazines, don’t pay writers either. Getting a byline – your name with the copy – is supposed to be enough. However, this is not the time to discuss this topic in detail, but it’s important to give an idea of the current climate, especially regarding photography publications.

Back to the news story. Once Magazine editor Andrew Jones adds: “Fed up with what we were reading, myself and a couple of friends from college decided to take on the big boys of the media world and challenge out-dated ideas about what the media could do. In Once Magazine, we’ve created an engaging, compelling, and independent photojournalism magazine for the generation of people like ourselves who have grown up digital, as well as who fondly remember the golden age of picture magazines. Furthermore, while the mainstream media wrings its hands over monetizing its content, we have created a new publishing business model where we split revenue with our contributors.”

Issue 5 can be downloaded from iTunes from today for £1.49. The iPad App is free as is the Pilot Issue. Subsequent issues cost $2.99 or cheaper by regular subscription. For those who like to see what others think of a product, there’s even a review.

Africhina reflects on Chinese industry in Zambi and has photos by Thomas Lekfeldt with an essay by Lene Winther.

The Moors of Chicago was shot by Paul Octavious with an essay by Peter Orner. It focuses on a hill in Chicago throughout different seasons and is accompanied by a short fictional text.

The third story, the chillingly-titled, And Satan Also Came Among Them, is by a brother and sister team – Noah (photographs) and Jean Friedman-Rudovsky (text) – who report on “a disturbing story of incest and rape in a Mennonite community in Bolivia”.

So far, Jones says that 97,000 plus people have “downloaded our publication and agree that we’re onto a good thing! However, you’ll need an iPad to read the magazine”. Since its launch at the end of 2011, the iPad magazine has been profiled in Wired, TechCrunch and “has been likened to the renowned Life Magazine”. The team has also entered into a partnership with cable news channel MSNBC.

“Not bad for a group of twenty-something, straight-out-of-college, first-time entrepreneurs who raised $65,000 from friends and family to pursue our dream,” he concludes.

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