Symbolia digital magazine draws in readers with ‘illustrated journalism’

Symbolia | International Women’s Media Foundation

One thing you can say for certain about Symbolia – the illustrated iPad magazine launching today — is that it’s different.

Symbolia is a digital magazine whose content is more storyboard than story — a rich blend of illustrations, comics and audio clips that spin a different kind of narrative. It’s a promising new product launching the same day we learned another iPad news innovator, The Daily, is closing.

Erin Polgreen is the founder, editor and publisher. She explained the concept in a video for the International Women’s Media Foundation, which provided startup grant funding:

When I say “illustrated journalism,” I don’t just mean pretty pictures with the news. We’re talking about integrating long-form, investigative pieces with comics, infographics and other interactive elements to create a very visual news experience unlike anything that’s really been tried before. We are basically turning the news into art.

The resulting magazine feels crafty, in both senses of the word — clever and uniquely handmade.

Here are a couple of screenshots from the free preview issue, which you can get in the iPad app or via a PDF download (though that version lacks the interactivity and the audio that really amp up the storytelling). In the coming year, six semi-monthly issues will be accessible for an $11.99 annual subscription.

Eventually, Symbolia will offer e-book versions and app versions for Android tablet and Kindle Fire owners.

If you’re a writer or an artist who might want to give this illustrated journalism thing a try, you can pitch stories here.

Related Poynter NewsU webinar: Erin Polgreen teaches “Illustrating the Story: Comics and Illustrated Journalism”

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.