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48 Hour Magazine

A magazine concept transforming publishing with a two-day production cycle

by Leonora Oppenheim in Culture on 11 May 2010

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So what did you do this weekend? Anything productive? Anything creative? Whatever satisfying thing you achieved, whether it was mowing the lawn, painting a wall or baking some bread, it's hard to beat the sheer audaciousness of the bright young media things in San Francisco who turned a magazine around in 48 hours, resulting in the inspired 48 Hour Magazine.

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Yup, just in case you haven't heard, i.e. if you're not on Twitter, the concept of a working weekend was taken to new levels over the past few days by the 48 Hour Magazine team, who came up with what they described as "a raucous experiment in using new tools to erase media's old limits." Which is to say that they decided to push all previously understood publishing boundaries and attempted to "write, photograph, illustrate, design, edit, and ship a magazine in two days."

The great news is their experiment worked! In fact it more than worked, it was an outrageous success, and I say that without having even seen the magazine yet. But if you've been following the progress of 48 Hour Magazine, you will know that the energy, enthusiasm and community bonding the idea provoked in writers, photographers and illustrators around the world was awe-inspiring.

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For all those creatives who've been understandably down on traditional media and the publishing world of late, this was the loudest wake up call of their lives. In the 10 days before kick off, over 6,000 people signed up to take part the 48 Hour Magazine experiment and during the production time the editorial team received 1,502 submissions. That's a lot of people crafting and creating for this unpredictable and unprecedented concept of a 48 hour magazine.

The energy, experienced variously through their Twitter, Ustream and Blog was infectious and I, along with the other 1,501 crazy kids who submitted, was swept up in the creative possibilities of what new media technologies can produce.

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48 Hour Magazine's greatest triumph is that it motivated thousands of people to create something original, without knowing whether or not it would be used, just for the pure unbridled sense of joy, fun and pumping adrenalin that comes from being under a tight deadline and in the race.

The audacious 48 Hour Magazine editors Heather Champ, Dylan Fareed, Mat Honan, Alexis Madrigal, Derek Powazek, Sarah Rich, Joe Brown plus thousands of contributors made it happen. This informative interview with Gizmodo reveals the staff's process in designing Issue Zero, aptly themed Hustle.

48 Hour Magazine is available from MagCloud. All the contributors and info about the magazine are available on the blog.

Production photos by Heather Champ

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