I Broke a News Story, and All I Got Was This Freaking T-Shirt

Writer BewarePosted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

As readers of this blog know, I’m fascinated by the oddities that pop up at the fringes of the writing and publishing worlds. This qualifies as one of the odder things I’ve come across lately: T-Post

The brainchild of a group of friends in Sweden, T-Post describes itself as “the world’s first wearable magazine.” The concept: A news story. A graphic interpretation of the same. A T-shirt. The art is printed on the front, and the story is printed on the inside (yes, really, on the inside, where no one can see it)–and voila! News you can carry with you, if not very obviously.

Subscribers to T-Post get one T-shirt every five weeks, with a story chosen by T-Post’s editors from news pieces submitted by participating writers. It costs 20 euros (per T-shirt or “issue”) to subscribe, with a further 7 euros due for shipping and handling. Unlike book of the month clubs, you can’t choose not to receive a T-shirt.

How do I know about this? I got an email invitation, presumably as a result of this blog.

T-post is tapping the writer community to create their editorial content. Writers will be able to publish as many stories as they like on T-post’s website and create their own profile.

Creating the democratic editorial process tpostmag.com readers will have an opportunity to vote for the articles they’d like to see as future T-post issues with the simple click of a VOTE button. Based on the number of votes, article comments and the story topic, the T-post staff will then choose what will become their next issue. Winning entries will have their news story interpreted into a graphic T-shirt by an artist chosen by the T-post staff and receive $1,200 USD.

While I certainly wouldn’t mind having $1,200, I can’t say I’m keen on having my news story printed on the inside of a T-shirt. The idea, apparently, is that the art will inspire questions, which the T-shirt wearer can answer by describing the invisible news story that goes with it. I wear graphic T-shirts fairly often in the summer, and I can’t remember the last time anyone asked me about the artwork.

Designating T-shirt wearers as news bearers is a pleasingly idealistic gimmick upon which to build a clothing company, though it strains the idea of a magazine. T-Post has gotten a fair amount of press coverage–not surprisingly, mainly about the artwork. Similarly, T-Post’s blog features its artists, but little is said about the writers (after all, it’s just “editorial content”), and I could find no writers’ guidelines on the T-Post website.

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