Some take ‘selfies’ of their shaving cuts. Others set up fatuous Facebook pages pleading to be ‘liked’. Many more propel themselves headlong into the Twitterverse or Twittersphere or whatever that vast empty space of idiocy and bigotry is called in order to attract fervent followers by the, er, hundreds.
One way or another, we’ve all had our crack at ‘going digital’, eager to prove that unlike the Luddites of old we have no fear whatsoever of technological advances and, quite the opposite, are utterly at ease with the shiny new way of doing things in this high-paced, constantly evolving, staggeringly innovative era.
At Spectator Australia — the only magazine on these shores that can boast of being the progeny of the oldest continuously published magazine in the English-speaking world — we’ve finally decided not only to dip a toe into digital waters, but to plunge headlong into the foaming, turbulent stream.
Welcome to our new app! Or indeed, if you are reading this on the tried and tested medium of glossy white paper, that should read: ‘Why not try our new app?’
After all, it’s free — at least to all existing print subscribers. (It’s as close as we’ll get to conceding there is such a thing as a free lunch.) It is also available to readers as early as Thursday afternoon. And for those who don’t subscribe, it’s cheaper than the news-stand price: you can buy a digital version on iTunes at $7.95 once you’ve downloaded the free Spec Aus app.
We’re very proud of our new app; available now on the iTunes store. On it, you get all the content of the magazine as it appears in the print edition. That includes our eye-catching cover art. We won’t bore you with the problems we’ve recently had, along with every other magazine in Australia, attempting to ensure a Friday postal delivery, a problem of timing recently compounded by distributors who no longer distribute to newsagents on the one day we want them to. (The Speccie now comes out in newsagents on Monday.)
A constant frustration for the editorial team has been the fact that our extremely prescient and insightful opinions — containing ideas and trends often commented on long before anyone else — take several days to reach our readers. (Incidentally, we pointed out the folly of decarbonising the economy, sans a global agreement, and the benefits of Coalition opposition to carbon taxes well before the political climate changed at home; we called on Tony Abbott to join with Warren Mundine and make indigenous Australia a key priority more than a year ago; we labelled the rebirth of Kevin Rudd a fraud weeks before others; and we even had Peter Beattie’s zombie-like return on our cover last summer, although the author somehow thought a comeback a good thing.)
Thanks to the app, our many intelligent, astute and subversive readers working for the ABC or the ALP will be able to browse the magazine on their iPads without incurring the spittle-flecked wrath of their lesser-informed colleagues.
We recognise that many long-time readers will either resist these changes or doubt their worth. But the digital evolution of the media landscape is a good example of Joseph A. Schumpeter’s ‘creative destruction’, capitalism creating new structures to meet new market demands. For journalism, like capitalism, is increasingly representing a form or method of economic change. Never stationary.
The brilliant long-time Spectator illustrator Heath has done a great cartoon for us of a dog bringing a chewed up tablet to its startled owner, with the caption: ‘He hasn’t got the hang of the Spectator Australia app yet.’ Hopefully we have. No doubt there’ll be one or two teething problems, but bear with us. We know it will be well worth your while. Water’s fine: jump in.
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