Considering that the internet has been killing print journalism for approximately fifteen years now, the old beast seems remarkably undead, News of the World excepted. Even so, it’s a rare aspiring writer or journalist nowadays that tries to start a new venture in print.
David Meller seems to be a rare exception, then. He’s started up a real life physical magazine, the launch party for which took place at the Castle Hotel on Oldham Street in Manchester last Monday. I was there to talk to David about the project.
OhDearism: Hi David, thanks for talking to us. Perhaps you could start by telling us about your previous writing experience and how you came to the decision to produce Catch.
David: Well I did the student newspaper and all that sort of jazz when I was at uni, and I’ve done my own zines before as well, and some writing for [the independent football magazine] When Saturday Comes. So I’ve done a fair bit of this sort of thing before, but this is the first time I finally decided to give it a proper professional stab. I’m quite pleased with the way it’s ended up, with what’s gone on over the weekend with the News of the World. You have ‘thank you and goodbye’ on their front cover and ‘hello and welcome’ on our posters!
OD: Have you ever kept a blog?
D: I have, but with Catch I want to focus on print. I want the website to have an embedded PDF viewer, with the magazine on there, and that’s literally it. That takes the place of a blog really. It accentuates the fact that it’s still about print for me; the website is just a different way of looking at print.
OD: We’ve talked about your motivation and your thought process, could you tell us a bit more about the magazine in terms of what’s in it?
D: The reason I called it Catch is that when I originally asked my friends for help, said that I wanted it to be a ‘catch-all’ magazine. It’s a bit cheesy I suppose but I thought, oh that’d be a good name for the magazine, a snappy name. So there’s music, current affairs, there’s a technology element too, then there’s ‘arts’, which is quite broad I suppose, and the key element is probably sports, in that it’s something you won’t tend to find in independent publications like this. In terms of the design, it was just a case of trying to find a decent font that was clear and readable, then I wanted ideally a page for each article, and I wanted them to breathe as much as possible – I didn’t want to cram it in with loads of other things in there like you’d find with a newspaper. I could have made other things fit in but it would have looked so cramped, like something you’d find on the bus or something.
OD: What about the illustrations?
D: There’s a few reasons why we did that. The first is a practical reason. Say, come October we want to publish something on politics and I want to put a picture of David Cameron on there – well I can’t afford to pay for the rights to a picture of Cameron from Getty images. So what I would do, is I’d get an illustrator to draw me one, maybe based on a photo but tweaked slightly, and get round it that way. The second reason is to make it stand out from other things I suppose.
OD: On the practical side of things, what’s your plan for distributing and selling the magazine?
D: From tomorrow I’m going to try and sort out a couple of stockists in Manchester, and I’ll sell it online from our website. With issue two or three I’ll try and get a couple of stockists around the country. I’m very conscious about making sure that this isn’t a Manchester-centric thing. I want it to appeal to as many people as possible.