** ... Continued from previous post.
And here's how the team came together.
Homero would be in charge of the production process -- lining up the budgets, locating and contracting the printer, developing an advertising plan, handling all the transactions with advertisers and payments with collaborators, and building a distribution map. It's a huge task over-all. See this recent piece Homer wrote for Tomo.
Alberto, designer behind the Soma site, among others, would be in charge of devising a design scheme and laying out each issue. We looked at Mexican tabloids and Cuban party newspapers he acquired on a visit there. We picked fonts. Alberto subcontracted an assistant design editor, Adiranne Montemayor, also an architect. Then we brought on Javier "Coco" Rivero, the brain behind Writers & Kitties, as copy editor. (It sounds way better as corrector de estilo.)
Coco's job was to review pitches as they came in to a general email address, recommend them to me to read and edit, line-edit stuff we'd want in the paper, and handle any big edits directly with the writers. A key point for me, after the traumas suffered freelancing through la crisis, was insisting early on that contributed pieces to the paper had to be paid, like in "real life." It's the principle. Kuri agreed.
Things started rolling. We bought the Web domains, opened a Twitter, found a printer (a testy old man in the Col. Guerrero, but that's another post), hired a web manager with Rodrigo Escandon, and hired Jeromino Jimenez (aka Ñaka Ñaka) to design a unique banner background for each issue's nameplate. Online, these would be .gifs. Yay.
The gallery gave us a budget for six issues at eight pages, with four pages in color. The core editorial team decided we would reserve the centerfold, known in the old-school as a double-truck, for a strong visual display, like a poster readers might want to keep. The back page would be called FUN FUN FUN, and would be jammed with random newspaper diversion bits, like horoscopes, gossip and such. The back-page would also include the print announcement for our carefully curated audio downloads. (More on that later.)
Then, we put out the call for pitches. Here's my Intersections post announcing the launch of the project.
This was to become the hardest part while getting started, establishing and nurturing the paper's editorial voice and character -- fast. We wanted Estrella Cercana to operate as a refraction, an interpretation, or a decoding of a "traditional" newspaper. We wanted stories and works to have a degree of intimacy or relevancy, no matter the genre or format. News for you and me.
Thankfully, weeks before, the Monterrey journalist Diego Enrique Osorno had published on a Gatopardo blog a "manifesto for infrarrealist journalism." This piece, re-published with Osorno's permission in the first issue of Estrella Cercana, became our anchor text, our baseline.
One part says:
Hagamos un encuentro nacional de jóvenes escritores militarizados o de jóvenes escritores zetas. Si algún imbécil menciona
los treinta mil,
o cuarenta mil,
o cincuenta mil,
o sesenta mil,
o setenta mil,
o noventa mil,
o cien mil muertos,
entonces hagamos algo extra: escribamos una columna de opinión defendiendo a las instituciones o leamos un haikú de guerra en el Zócalo al final de la marcha; cantemos el himno nacional o un narcocorrido antes de que comience la próxima sesión de nuestro taller literario.
Next, it came time to make to the first issue and get it out there. This initial process, as satisfying as it was, came with some ... setbacks.
** ... Part 3, next.
(* Click on the image for a larger view of one of Carolyn Castaño's Narcovenus works. * Post slightly edited)