My Paper of Record
August 27, 2012 5:51 PM   Subscribe

I want to subscribe to a news publication, printed on paper, that will be delivered in the (United States) mail (remember that? neat service!). I'm looking for your recommendations for something that will make me happy in a few different ways:

Wait! Please read to the end of the question before you tell me what you love to read, because this will be for more than just reading, and the stuff at the end is really more important, and harder to find.

I'm going to use this publication in 2 ways. First, I'll read some of it to learn some interesting things about what's happening in the world. A global focus would be a bonus, but isn't essential. I also enjoy some science, more at a college than graduate level. Or maybe law. And I also like eccentric trade journals and local papers (from anywhere).

Editorially, the slant should NOT be right wing. Almost anything else will do -- centerish, left, Communist, oddball, eclectic. I just need to avoid anything that will consistently make me so mad I want to spit nails. Narrow-mindedness and misogyny make me that mad, so those qualities would be disqualifiers.

The second purpose makes things more difficult. I'm going to use the publication as a base for keeping personal journals. The result will be a little bit like Nancy Chunn's book, Front Pages, or this Smash Folio.

So the quality of the paper and the binding matter even more than the content. I could reinforce the covers or binding if needed, so paper is the trump card.

Some of my additions will be written (in ballpoint ink) on other pieces of paper, which will be attached to the journal pages. Sometimes I'll want to write directly on the printed pages. So it needs to be a paper that takes ink without smudging, and when I stick a Post-It on it, it will be inclined to stay put. So, not glossy. Also, not too heavy -- these will accunulate, and I need to able to lift them. Color or B+W is not critical, nor is size, though broadsheet would be awkwardly large.

posted by Corvid to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Pacific Standard is a new magazine that might fit the bill. The articles are good, the graphics are great, and it is a sturdy magazine with above average paper. You can order single copies from them if you want to see what it is like prior to subscribing.
posted by eelgrassman at 6:14 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think your best bet would be to go to the library at a local university and browse their publications section. If you have a large university nearby, they should have a lot of options. You can take a look through them to see what is printed on the right kind of paper and the kind of content you're looking for. You'll probably get some good suggestions on here, but that's nothing compared to seeing your options in person.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:16 PM on August 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

National Geographic, maybe?
posted by Sara C. at 6:48 PM on August 27, 2012

Sounds like a cool project! A little more mainstream than DoubleLune's suggestion, any magazine you can get at Barnes & Noble can be subscribed to by mail, so you might want to browse there to get yourself started with feeling kinds of paper.
posted by itesser at 6:51 PM on August 27, 2012

Edible Austin is a quarterly Central Texas foodie magazine. It's printed on very nice heavyish paper and it's journal sized. Here in Austin, it's free, but I bet you could subscribe.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 7:14 PM on August 27, 2012

The Week might do. The paper is about the same as in, say, The New Yorker. I don't have a copy at hand to see how well it takes ink, but I know mine have been scribbled on before without bleeding through.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:23 PM on August 27, 2012

The High Desert Journal is beautiful, large format, on heavy matte paper. It's a work of art, and the content is great too. Definitely won't have you spitting nails, and will make a beautiful journal.
posted by Capri at 8:04 PM on August 27, 2012

National Geographic is so very excellent, but too too glossy, and so damn well bound that it won't lie flat when you open it. Reading it feels too much like a wrestling match.

Another complication -- I'm housebound (illnesses I'll bore you with another time, not today), so although going to the library or B+N to browse would be my idea of died-and-gone-to-heaven, it's not do-able. So I will have to rely on your recommendations, and internet shopping.

I hope to see many more suggestions, cause I think I'll try a few so I can mix 'em up. The Week looks good -- I used to get that, but forgot about it.
posted by Corvid at 8:18 PM on August 27, 2012

The Baffler ticks most of those boxes.
posted by junco at 8:45 PM on August 27, 2012

Go with the two oldest continuously-published magazines in the US: Scientific American and Harper's.
posted by zsazsa at 10:17 PM on August 27, 2012

Get a free(!) subscription to Saudi Aramco World. (you can now subscribe online, when I subscribed a few years ago, I had to send a fax!)

It's on very nice quality thick (not too glossy paper.) The articles are interesting: Yes, the focus is on things Arab/Middle Eastern (and they're not going to talk badly about petroleum products or the Saudi royal family!), but they publish stories about a surprising number of topics such as: sea slugs! cork farming! falconry! coffee! Oriental carpets in Westen art! za'atar! Pushkin! Gardening! The images are really gorgeous. (and there are no ads.)
posted by vespabelle at 12:08 AM on August 28, 2012 [4 favorites]

I hope I haven't gotten your spec totally wrong, but I'm a bit sleepy - apologies if I'm off.

The Guardian is a UK paper that has a weekly overseas subscription edition - it is a broadsheet, but it is a wee broadsheet (well. the UK version has been for years - I don't see why the overseas version would be different, but I don't know.).

The blurb on their about page says 'The Guardian Weekly is one of the world's best-selling international weekly newspapers. It offers a unique blend of international news, politics, culture and comment, drawing on the considerable editorial resources of the Guardian, with selected features from the Observer, the Washington Post and Le Monde.' And you can look at an online sample and do a trial subscription.

I totally cannot comment on the paper quality, though - it's not specially flimsy in the UK version and takes ink ok, but the international weekly might have different paper - almost certainly not glossy, but I've only seen one of these once and it was years ago, so I'm useless on this front.
posted by magdalenstreetladies at 1:58 PM on August 28, 2012

> I'm housebound (illnesses I'll bore you with another time, not today), so although going to the library or B+N to browse would be my idea of died-and-gone-to-heaven, it's not do-able.

Can you get a stack of magazines from your library to fondle and test for post-it-ness before you subscribe? The libraries I'm familiar with mail items to housebound patrons.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:00 PM on August 28, 2012

Re the Edible Austin suggestion -- Edible is a national organization with (identically published) magazines in a lot of different markets. I bet there's one local to you. They're free at local businesses, but you can subscribe to any edition that strikes your fancy.
posted by Sara C. at 2:00 PM on August 28, 2012

So many good suggestions. I'm gonna have some fun with these.

I've been getting Saudi Aramco World for a couple of years -- what a treat it is! It's already destined to be part of the project.
posted by Corvid at 7:39 PM on August 28, 2012

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