Monday, February 25, 2013

interview with THE OUTPOST

The Outpost comes from Lebanon, a pile of the first issue came to our store and it blew our minds.
We asked editor in chief Ibrahim Nehme a couple of questions about his magazine.

Magpile called The Outpost one of the best new magazines of 2012, how do you feel about that? 

It feels so good I don't even know how to put it in words! They even nominated us for best magazine design, alongside New York Times mag and Bloomberg Businessweek. We thought it was a long shot honestly, especially that we were very new at the time with only a trial issue 00 under our belt. I was randomly checking the magpile website on the day the 10 shortlists were announced, with no expectations whatsoever, and saw our name in the two categories. It was unbelievable.

The subtitle of The Outpost is ‘a magazine of possibilities’. Why? 

The magazine aims to inspire the Arab youth to explore a world of possibilities. We are unapologetically optimistic, and we believe in the future of the Arab
world. We are also realists and seek to address missed opportunities. What went wrong? How could things be better? So 'a magazine of possibilities' is the over-arching premise that we are forward-looking and also not bound by a specific topic (Our three sections are: What's Happening, What's Not Happening and What Could Happen)


Which magazines inspired you when you started The Outpost? It seems like a Middle Eastern Delayed Gratification, what do you think of that magazine? 

It's the first time I hear this comparison, actually. And I don't think it is the case. Maybe the only point in common is that we both highly invest in infographics. DG are mainly interested in reporting on and analyzing what happened in the past quarter, and they position themselves as the 'last to breaking news.' We on the other hand do not cover news and are very interested in the future: how can we make it better? This is evident in our vision to ignite a renaissance in the Arab world. I think the concept of the magazine is fairly new. We were inspired by many magazines, like 60s Esquire, Intelligent Life, Monocle, Colors, Wired, IL magazine and other new independent titles.

There are a lot of nice infographics in The Outpost, why do you use them? 

I think infographs work very well in an age when there is just too much information out there; you need someone to find the good data, sift through them, organize them and deliver them in an interesting way. Infographs can simplify complicated narratives and highlight little details that otherwise could be lost when reading.  

We recently got some very interesting magazines from the Middle East like The Carton and We Are Here. Do you think there is a new movement of magazine makers in the area and do you feel part of it?  

Indeed it seems that the independent publishing industry in the region is booming. It definitely is a movement and we are part of it. I actually wrote a piece about this for Campaign, which answers your question. You can check it here:

What are your favourite magazines?  

Let's see... Apartamento, Colors, Wired, Intelligent Life, The Believer, Smith Journal, Monocle, NYT mag. I'm very influenced by Esquire in the 60s under Harlod Hayes editorship. There are so many new magazines launching these days and they are SO GOOD.. Offscreen, Gather Journal, Collect, Port, Little White Lies, We Are Here, ... it's hard to keep up!

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