Knight Center
Knight Center


New tablet magazine Symbolia pioneers "comics journalism"

A new tablet-exclusive publication launched on Monday, Dec. 3, right on the heels of the news that the first tablet-only newspaper, The Daily, would end circulation on Dec. 15. Founded by Erin Polgreen and Joyce Rice, Symbolia, “the tablet magazine of illustrated journalism,” combines investigative reporting and non-fiction storytelling with interactive graphics, sounds and comic-book styling.  

Poynter quoted Polgreen’s definition of illustrative journalism as moving beyond “pretty pictures:”

“We’re talking about integrating long-form, investigative pieces with comics, infographics and other interactive elements to create a very visual news experience unlike anything that’s really been tried before. We are basically turning the news into art.”

Check out Polgreen’s full video introduction to Symbolia from the International Women’s Media Foundation, which provided the start-up with $20,000:

Polgreen told the Columbia Journalism Review that their embrace of the comic-book style is designed to reach younger audiences who might be “intimidated by 5,000 words of text.” Polgreen says in the video above that their target audience is journalists, comic book fans and technologists. According to an interview with Publishers Weekly, Symbolia will also feature lots of international reporting

The inaugural issue, “How We Survive,” is free with future issues costing $2.99 each or a year’s subscription for $11.99. Currently, Symbolia is available for iPad and PDF download but the magazine said it would be available soon on Kindle Fire and other e-readers. 

Writers, artists and developers interested in pitching ideas can reach Symbolia here

Check out a video of the new magazine in action here:



aacopiadoras wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago


This initiatives should happen more often. It is no onlyt pretty pictures to look at but the way they integrate with new interactive technologies that are more engaging when it comes to learning.

david ramirez wrote 4 years 6 weeks ago

comic books are no second rate option

Younger audiences need to be critical and able to judge for themselves. To use comic books as a means to "...reach younger audiences who might be *intimidated by 5,000 words of text.*" shows that in so many years little has changed as to how comic books are perceived: for children. Really?

Guest wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Just another step in the

Just another step in the continuing effort to dumb down the American citizen, too many of which can't read now. So rather than teach them let's cater to them. DUMB!!

Of course most people think the printed media is already a comic book so maybe there's nothing new here.

And, by the way, they're not the first to replace real journalism with pretty colored pictures.

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