Issue 31: Newsprint at last.

New York

The rumors are true. We have a new format. We had been thinking about newsprint for almost a year now. This March, we surveyed our readers. Working from more than a hundred responses, our team—led by art director Laura Coombs, editors Samuel Medina and Marianela D’Aprile, and publisher Nicolas Kemper—mapped out a new course. While the writing and art received a lot of love and praise, most of the readers were also ready for a different format. They found the page progression confusing—or, to quote a few respondents:

“The folding/pagination is really baffling to me.”

“I never know what page is first, what is the hierarchy of pieces or intended flow.”

“I truly hate how it’s bound.”

So we sought out a vehicle that would be bound and easy to read, eventually arriving at a form very true to our city: the stapled tabloid.

We took a different approach to the content. Whereas previously, almost all of the articles appeared as a continuous scroll with minimal differentiation—the “open floor plan” approach to a publication—NYRA now has front, back, and side doors, connected by a series of rooms, among them Skyline, Essays, Conversations, and Shortcuts. 

NYRA’s allegiance will continue to be to words and drawings. In June, we conducted a call for illustrators, through which we found Sean Suchara to make our cover and a cohort of others—including Laura Szyman, whose drawings accompany this issue's Shortcuts—to bring illustrated life to our pages. Our tradition of creating collectible posters with each issue will continue, both with our issue centerfolds and through a dedicated imprint, NYRA Editions, led by Phillip Denny. 

Our new home cherishes and emphasizes conversation. We created more spaces, such as the letters section, to hear from our community. Two sections, Skyline and Shortcuts, channel the density of our original broadsheet format and mark the beginning and end of each issue, holding between them essays, reviews, and reported pieces. A dedicated attack column, Wrecking Ball, provides a cathartic kick on the way out. 

In some ways our new home is somewhat predictable, maybe even inevitable. It is a little similar to the Brooklyn Rail and that other New York review. It matches almost precisely our “spirit publication,” the 1970s architecture rag Skyline, which also made the stapled tabloid its home. That suits us. We never planned to surprise or startle with our format. The artists, designers, and writers within will do that. ⬤