Qompendium is an evolving and ever-changing platform for philosophy, art, culture and science, represented by a series of print publications: magazines, books and monographs. Furthermore, it is enriched by a gallery concept, a work shop and a fast-moving online portal.
In 1999 Jason Kristofer co-founded Newstoday.com with Folkert Gorter, allowing for further research and personal growth, internally known as “QBN’s unauthorized experiment.”
The Interview with Jason Kristofer was conducted in 2005.
Many graphic designers would like to have their own magazines running.
How did you start, and why online?
Newstoday started in 1999 in New York City while we were colleagues working at a large interactive firm. We wanted to create an environment where people of all ages and backgrounds could communicate, learn, share and discuss, and we made a conscious decision to publish Newstoday, but only online, not because of cost, but purely in the interest of global exposure, instant interaction and new content on a daily basis. One of our main goals for the Newstoday environment was global exposure for any artist or designer. Printed media (newspapers, magazines, books, etc.) give you mainly local exposure, while we wanted to facilitate a widely visited online destination, providing instant exposure to, and interaction with, a world-wide audience of creative professionals.
What’s your motivation and how do you finance your magazine?
We publish Newstoday for free out of the love of the subject and medium. We finance it through our independent freelance studios we run on the side, as well as several select and relevant advertising partners that provide sponsorship for the site. All of our clients and partners contact us, putting us in the luxurious but important position of being able to choose the most relevant parties. Additionally, our hosting partner, Media Temple, provides for all our hosting needs free of charge, and we have a talented development team in the form of Michael Buzzard, Chris Lea and Richard Groenendijk.
So this full time job pays the rent, then?
Pays the rent: No. Full-time job: Yes.
Independent online magazines mostly fear too much control from the client. How is that with you?
No fears. In order to provide a quality service, there has to be a certain amount of financial backing. By carefully choosing and accepting relevant advertisers on the website, we are able to continue providing content and features. The advertisements are completely accepted by our audience, as it is one of the few ways to finance projects like this while keeping access completely free of charge for our users.
Art vs. Commerce vs. Client – do you see a conflict when selecting your content?
No, Newstoday is a resource for art and design-related content, knowledge sharing, inspiration and discussion for designers, artists, studios, creative professionals, universities, and anyone with a specific interest in the creative field. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and we facilitate content not based on subject, branch, or medium, but purely on the level of quality and degree of (personal and professional) interest.
Isn’t the internet scene getting boring after all these years? How do you manage to stay unique, and what about the ones who copy ?
No. It is getting more interesting every day. By facilitating a completely open system where anyone can publish their thoughts, ideas and work, the content is mostly created by the ever-changing, ever-growing audience, providing a constantly refreshed pool of information.
We believe that one of the most beautiful qualities of the Internet is the fact that you can instantly share your thoughts, ideas and creations with the rest of the world, and communicate with anyone about them. Of course there are people who copy, people who display destructive behaviour, ignorance, small-mindedness, childishness, etc, just like you find anywhere. We don’t focus on this at all, instead, we focus on the things we can do that add value to the global creative community, in a way that is positive, relevant, and intelligent.
What if AOL is at your door and you could sell your trademark?
How do you see the future of online magazines? Survival of the fittest, or is there a chance for a mass market?
No, the goal and requirement of this creative community is to be large. The concept works better the more individuals you have participating; the more users, the richer the experience. We see the future of magazines going towards content that is published by individuals on the web. News, art, design, politics, specific interests, science, etc. The Internet is becoming a collective consciousness where people create the content, and the large corporations have less of a say as the individual communities and audiences grow.
What are your favorite sites?
Publications and initiatives that interest us include:
Jason grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he studied architecture. He moved to Los Angeles, California and studied acting while working under the direction of Sean Penn, James Foley and David Fincher, and has had the great opportunity of acting along side of Mark Wahlberg, Jack Nicholson and Michael Douglas. It was then that he began to re-evaluate “Acting” and equated it to self-branding and effective marketing. He has since returned to design with a continued and strengthened focus on both brand and marketing and co-founded Newstoday.com with Folkert Gorter, allowing for further research and personal growth, internally known as “QBN’s unauthorized experiment.”