The old model of print publishing is well-established: an ink-stained wretch, hunched over his typewriter or terminal, fueled into the late hours by coffee and nicotine. In the online age, this vision seems anachronistic, and overly deferential to media gatekeepers sitting on high. Almost in response to this dated model and the innovations of the real-time web, a group of online media mavens are resurrecting the all-hours crunch of print publishing, while re-imagining the process for a shareable digital age. 



48 Hour Magazine is the brainchild of a number of online publishers, including Derek Powazek, publisher of excellent Bay Area web- and print-publication Fray and "Chief of Awesome" at the print-on-demand magazine service MagCloud. The publishers aim to "write, photograph, illustrate, design, edit, and ship a magazine in two days", crowdsourcing contributions and production from their online community.

Their statement of purpose is simple and direct:

Here's how it works: Issue Zero begins May 7th. We'll unveil a theme and you'll have 24 hours to produce and submit your work. We'll take the next 24 to snip, mash and gild it. The end results will be a shiny website and a beautiful glossy paper magazine, delivered right to your old-fashioned mailbox. We promise it will be insane. Better yet, it might even work. Writers and artists from some of your favorite publications like Rolling StoneWiredDwell, Gizmodo, GOODLapham's Quarterly, HiLoBrow, Fray, Paleofuture, and The Rumpus have already signed up. Mainly because we promise that this thing will be fun. No long commitments. No pitches. No grinding editing process. You make good stuff fast; we publish it with other good stuff.

While there are a number of high-profile writers and editors working on the magazine, writing and photography submissions are open to anyone who can turn around work in 24 hours that is up to snuff. The editing and production process will no doubt be grueling, and contributors and rubberneckers alike will be able to watch the production process as it streams online. Transparency and openness is the name of the game for the 48 Hour Magazine folks–they vow that all money that goes in and out will be documented online.

It's a refreshing, and revolutionary experiment: to create a genuinely crowdsourced, real-time print publication. It's difficulty to say whether this points to a new media model or if it's just a very cool gimmick, but regardless, it's an exciting experiment in real-time online collaboration to create a physical product. Sign up and learn more at 48hrmag.com.
Paul M. Davis


Paul M. Davis

Paul M. Davis tells stories online and off, exploring the spaces where data, art, and civics intersect. I currently work with a number of organizations including Pivotal and

Things I share: Knowledge, technology, reusable resources, goodwill.