Paperboy launched late last year as a stylish free weekly magazine by and for Auckland. We at The Spinoff noticed what they were doing with their covers, and not doing – all 30 of them run below – and asked editor Jeremy Hansen to write about what he looks for in a cover.
We’ve just produced our 30th issue of Paperboy – a good time to look back over what we’ve made so far, to see if we’re doing what we’d hoped to when we started this little mag.
Our first cover – a photograph of the arrow at Best Ugly Bagels at City Works Depot, just outside our office – was a bit of a sidestep. The other images we mocked up for our debut buckled under the pressure of having to represent everything the magazine was about, so we decided this image (photographed by Spid) was a more straightforward way to invite people to just look inside instead.
When we were planning the magazine we talked a lot about what we called “the new Auckland” – this sense that the city was growing up and becoming really interesting, and that a whole lot of people were proud of the place in a way they hadn’t been before.
We wanted our covers to celebrate that sense of optimism. I should add that we’ve always seen “the city” as being all of Auckland – north, south, east and west – not just downtown and a couple of suburbs where people might think the action is. So we choose our subjects and our covers with that in mind. We also see the city’s diversity as an incredibly positive thing, so we want our covers to reflect that, too.
Paperboy tends to look on the bright side, but not stupidly so. We know Auckland still has problems and we’d be foolish to ignore them, so we’ve tried to find people with good ideas about how to tackle them. We did an issue on homelessness that included an interview with Sam Tsemberis, a visiting expert in rehousing homeless people, for example. And we were proud to feature Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei’s Kāinga Tuatahi housing development, an independent approach to alleviating the city’s ongoing housing woes.
As we work on issue 31 and those that will follow it, we’re trying to keep things a bit loose. We don’t want to become predictable on the cover or inside the mag, because then we risk boring our readers and ourselves. We’ve featured a few famous people on our cover (Frankie Adams, Roger Tuivasa Scheck), but we like regular humans even more. We’ve also played with illustrations, urban scenes, vintage images and a bunch of other stuff. We’ll certainly produce a few duds – some people would argue we already have – but we’re happy to risk that. Most of all, we’re enjoying the chance to tell as many of this city’s stories as we can.
Below are the first 30 Paperboy covers. See if you can spot the missing demographic…