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Stipla Magazine

Pushing the boundaries of digital publishing, this new interactive iPad app brings powerful stories of people around the world to life

by Nara Shin in Culture on 20 December 2013

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Instead of trying to configure print or website content to fit onto iPad screen, a team in London decided to take advantage of the tablet's capabilities and employ it as a unique medium for sharing stories. Stipla is a new iPad magazine that combines writing with panoramic photographs, video shorts, animations, interactive maps and more digital "extras" to bring the focus of their stories to life—and it's an immersive reading experience like no other. The name is an acronym for "story, technology, innovation, passion, life and adventure."

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In their inaugural issue, the team at Stipla took the passenger seat as a female Palestinian race car driver offered a glimpse into her life in the Occupied Territories, and Stipla found themselves lost in Dharavi, a slum in Mumbai where 80% of Mumbai's waste is recycled daily. There are also shorter snapshots of different makers and the stories behind the tools they use, as well as inquisitive forays into engineering research and causes of ocean pollution.

"We’ve got a whole featured section on India in our first issue, covering everything from history to economics, immigration, craftsmanship and recycling," Stipla founder Simon Kreitem tells CH. "It’s about half of our issue and it was the area we spent the most time on; crafting and sculpting the story from so many different elements. You can turn 360 degrees on a Mumbai rooftop, clean the hands of a man that dyes clothes, experience the hustle and bustle of the streets, meet a mountaineer turned city dweller and understand the economics of recycling entrepreneurship."

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The professional aspect of the writing and photography is evident among the range of contributors; the film assets within the magazine were shot by Lonelyleap, a documentary and commercial film company that's done work for the likes of Apolis and the BBC, and shares a similar passion for telling stories.

"In a conversation with them, we understood that they had crews of people all over the world at any one time and were shooting assets that were more powerful than just the one film all of that work was distilled into," says Kreitem. "Between motion graphics, still photography and documentary film there was so much wealth in what they were uncovering. We asked ourselves the question, what if we could find independent stories in the locations they were already in for their clients. We wanted this magazine to tell stories in the best way possible, in a way that’s right for each story whoever it’s about and wherever it may be. Because ultimately a film lives and dies, we wanted to begin to push beyond that."

"The biggest hurdle was trying to create a magazine while at the same time understanding the software," he continues. "The stories we were trying to cover fueled our passion to create the magazine. But we hadn’t created a system or a platform first. It was a predictable catch-22 that we fully embraced and that’s why we’re so excited about the second issue where we’ll be free from those constraints and can concentrate on getting the content as interactive and as engaging as possible."

Unlike publishing websites that make their articles accessible immediately, and anywhere, these stories will never be easily searchable or sharable on social media networks, because they live inside the iPad app. This limitation adds something valuable to the stories you read—likening it more to an actual print publication. To share an article, you would have to physically hand it over to a friend—just like the old days.

Stipla Issue #1 can be downloaded at the App Store for $3, or you can purchase a recurring subscription for $6. It is compatible only with the iPad.

Screenshots courtesy of Stipla Magazine

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