Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Republic is not a newsletter

It is mildly annoying to me when people refer to The Ester Republic as a "newsletter." It's bugged me for years, although I've never sat down and thought about exactly why it is so irritating. It strikes me as a devaluing of the paper, somehow. A newsletter, according to Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (not so new anymore) is
n. (ca 1903) a printed sheet, pamphlet, or small newspaper containing news or information of interest chiefly to a special group.
Well, that's a pretty accurate description of the Republic, except that the content actually appeals to a fairly broad group, and doesn't get out except to a small group. Even so, it rankles.

Newsletters are little quickie jobs, with, usually, not the best writing or graphic quality. They often don't have the greatest design. Their audience is usually VERY specific, such as a particular company, or a club or organization. I distinguish them from 'zines, which often have an avante-garde, revolutionary, artistic quality to them, and are quite often irregular. Newsletters have a fine and rumpus-filled history of their own, but still! The Republic's writing, photography, and cartooning is of a fine quality, and the print reproduction is good.

I know I'm being a bit of a snob, here--the Republic is not quite to magazine standard, and elements of its design are rather newsletterish, as opposed to newspapery or magazine-slick. But I'd like to think that it's a step up from a newsletter or a pamphlet. At least a couple of steps up, really.



Ishmael said...

How do you feel about "circular"?


Deirdre Helfferich said...

Circular and pamphlet would also make me gack, at least as applied to the Republic. 'Zine would feel like a compliment. Alternative news publication is pretty cool, too.