May 14, 2008, 05:20AM

Magazine Publishes 100% User Generated Issue

For it's latest issue Budget Travel magazine borrowed a concept from Wikipedia, using entirely user generated content for a print publication. The result was a healthy diversity of views, but a longer and more expensive editing process. Can Internet ideas of content creation be exported to old media?

"For its June issue, Budget Travel has allowed its readers to generate all of the text and photography—only the “40 Best Deals” section was written by staffers.

The magazine solicited some 2,800 pitches from readers, according to editor Erik Torkells. In the end, he says, there were 324 contributors for the issue. A piece called “50 Reasons You Love New York” elicited 500 submissions alone.

“Let’s be perfectly clear,” Torkells wrote in a blog post for FOLIO:. “Making this issue was neither cheap nor easy.”

The magazine paid “normal fees” to its contributors, Torkells says, as well as travel expenses for companions—“something we don’t do for professional writers.” (Sending a family of four to Hong Kong, Torkells says, blew out the magazine’s travel budget, no pun intended.)

And without an “extraordinary amount” of editing, the issue “would’ve been a mess,” he says. “Editing non-professional writers is never easy, especially when you’re asking them to write long.”



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