California Sunday Magazine Built with Creatavist Cloud-Based Software

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ATAVIST, the media and software company, reveals that The California Sunday Magazine is built on its industry-leading publishing platform, Creatavist.

"We want to be a lean company, light on our feet. Creatavist made that possible" —Douglas McGray, Editor in Chief of The California Sunday Magazine

From the folks behind Pop-Up Magazine, California Sunday is the most ambitious independent magazine launch in recent memory, producing “thoughtful, reported features and beautiful photography and illustrations set in California, the West, Asia, and Latin America, for a national audience.” It’s entire digital architecture—Web site, iPhone and iPad mobile apps, and Android mobile apps—is built on Creatavist, the unique cloud-based storytelling platform.  

It’s a rare inversion of the standard media and technology coastal flow, with the media made on the west coast and the technology on the east. California Sunday brought together a team of talented editors, designers, writers, photographers, artists, and designers; Creatavist provided its cross-platform publishing system, designed specifically to help magazine publishers navigate an ever-changing digital landscape. This deployment showcases not only the power of Creatavist on the Web and mobile, but also debuts an array of unique features including a configurable paywall, flexible subscription models, responsive ads and built-in DFP support for mobile and the Web.  

Douglas McGray, Editor in Chief of The California Sunday Magazine and Pop-Up Magazine, and CEO of California Sunday, their publisher, commented:“The California Sunday Magazine is focused on telling great stories. We care a lot about design. We want to be available to people however they read—web, apps, print. And we want to be a lean company, light on our feet. Creatavist made that possible. We were able to launch a new national magazine on the web, iOS, Android, and in print (400,000 circulation), with a small, talented team.”

With the launch of tablets in 2010, magazines flocked to mobile environments, but ended up either producing PDF facsimiles or drowning in multiple Web and app CMS systems. Publishers have continued to need a way to create a beautiful magazine that looked and felt digitally native, without redesigning across devices. Now, with Creatavist, magazine teams can log in and create a beautiful, unique publication across every digital environment from one central system. It’s as simple as building stories, choosing a payment model, and publishing. The content can live simultaneously in apps and live on the web, where they are shareable and, most importantly, discoverable. 

Thomas Rhiel, Director of Reader Experience at Atavist, commented: “An issue of a magazine is more than a series of articles, more than the sum of its parts. There’s no reason that the idea of a magazine’s finely-tuned “mix” can’t live on digitally. But if reading your digital magazine consists of e-flipping through a series of glorified PDF layouts, you blew it. We took California Sunday as a challenge to rethink what a natively digital magazine can be.” 

2014 marks the fourth year Atavist has been teaming up with media organizations to help make online storytelling more dynamic, immersive, and mobile-friendly. From Esquire’s re-release of “The Falling Man” to WBUR’s Whitey Bulger Project to thousands of other projects built with Creatavist, the platform has been there at each turn, developing inventive and affordable solutions for the modern publisher—and tens of millions happy readers. 

To read more about the thinking behind Creatavist’s magazine approach, read Thomas Rhiel’s essay:

For more information on Creatavist, contact Crystal Fawn, crystal(at)atavist(dot)com.  

Atavist is a media and software company at the forefront of digital, mobile publishing. Its mission is to enable the next generation of multimedia storytelling, reaching readers across mobile devices and the Web. Its flagship publishing arm, The Atavist—built with Creatavist, a Web-based platform designed in-house—features original pieces of longform nonfiction journalism.

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Crystal Fawn
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Nick Greene
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