Newspapers are having a rough ride these days—seems like few believe newsprint publications have a future. But one 27-year-old Oregonian is bringing back newsprint, in all its broadsheet, tangible glory.
Earlier this month, Corbin LaMont released The Changing Times—a “community-supported” traveling newspaper, comprising eight pages of crackling off-white paper and large typeface intermixed with photography, maps, and cover art. Her plan is to issue one paper a month, from November 2017 to October 2018, showcasing a new city each time and mailing it to subscribers. She kicks off with Portland this month, with a print run of 1,000 and the paper’s subscribers funding its existence. We sat down with LaMont at the newspaper’s Portland launch party to hear about where the idea was born, the first issue’s content, and the smell of newsprint.
What is a traveling newspaper?
It is [a newspaper] produced from a different place each month. I’m also calling it a community-supported newspaper because right now it solely exists because of its subscribers.
Where did this idea originate?
I made a neighborhood newspaper when I was a kid. As an adult I did publications; I had a zine called Day Job that was about women’s perspective on making art and making a living. I’ve done these other publications that felt like some of my favorite work ever—being able to bring creative people together, and being able to talk about ideas that I think are important and about places people always talk about. Doing the newspaper, I thought, "How do I get people to slow down, to find something meaningful in a time that seems very desperate?"
Why use a newspaper format?
I wanted to give people something that felt really different and also speaking to two different generations—perhaps a generation that used to love the paper and thinks it sucks now, and knowing my friends that read the paper and have no connection to it. Can I find this place in between these different generations that don’t feel like they have a connection to this print piece? I love the way [newspapers] smell. I love the way they look. I like that they are temporary-feeling, [that] they are fleeting.
The first issue is from Portland. Tell me what’s in there.
The first issue talks about the history of oppression in Portland and the beautiful creative community coming from that. I go way way back in time to how people ended up in Oregon in the first place, and then I flash forward to now and call out artists like the Last Artful, Dodgr, Blossom, and the EYRST label, people that I see as the new face of what Portland could be.
How are you choosing the places you’re visiting?
I think Portland has such a huge spotlight on it right now, as does Mexico City [where issue two is set]. I think people are talking about it as a design capital of the world right now and that’s exciting to me. The next place I’m going is a rural farming community that has no spotlight on it. So the places are not so much about how other people see them. It's about this point of connection that is in every place.