December 12, 2014 Last Updated 7:42 am

Publisher of Spiral Earth launches new digital magazine, The Doctrine Magazine

New digital-only magazine on music, books, poetry, film and art appears designed for the web first, the iOS devices as an app later

The publisher of the UK music website Spiral Earth has launched a new digital magazine called The Doctrine which is available both as an iOS app inside the Apple Newsstand, as well as online.

TheDoctrine-coverThe iOS app version must have been an after thought as its is a rather odd looking digital magazine. The app will work in both portrait and landscape, but doesn’t look to have designed for either orientation. Pages are too short in portrait, and the same window works in landscape, making the pages too short on the right hand side – leaving a large white, empty space.One guesses that this free magazine was meant for the web first, with an app launched just to have one.

The new digital-only magazine will cover covers music, books, poetry, film and art in the UK.

“The Doctrine began life as an extension to the work many of our contributors were already involved in,” Ben Crowther, the editor, wrote in the introductory column. “However, as time went by we realised it was growing into so much more. The Doctrine has become a magazine about feeling; about responses and about the arts. We are proud to showcase the talents of some of the best writers in their respective industries and to nurture young talent.”

Doctrine-feature-1“All artists, whether musicians, authors, poets, painters or actors are looking for true meaning in their work,” Iain Hazlewood, who is editor and publisher of Spiral Earth, who under whose developer account this new digital magazine was launched into the Newsstand. “Whether that is the truth within their subject, the situation, or indeed within the artist at that precise point in time is a fascinating journey that is worth exploring. The Doctrine is all about the search to find that shining spark, and the journey can be as interesting, or sometimes more interesting, than the finishing point.”

Hazlewood is also the owner of Construct id, a creative agency.

The plan is to produce the new magazine six times a year with the next issue coming in February. Both the app and the issues inside, as well as access to the website version are free of charge. Because of this, it is a little hard to imagine why the publisher decided to launch the app edition. The web version actually works much better on the iPad using Safari than does the app. The layouts fit the browser page perfectly, though navigation is not as easy as the reader has to use the back button (for some reason the pages don’t contain the same in-page navigation features as the desktop version does).

While Spiral Earth contains standard web advertising, the new digital magazine is without advertising, so it is hard to see if this new venture can, or will be monetized to defray costs or pay contributors.

Update: two representatives from the magazine rather energetically objected to this story based on the idea that 1) the app works just fine; and 2) there is advertising in the app version.

It turns out that they were right about the second point (the ads are small display ads seen along the side of some stories. I mistook them for simply other illustrations for the story). As for the app’s behavior (layouts coming up short) I retested the app on my iPad mini, my standard iPad, and on the iPhone. The iPhone worked perfectly, and I think is actually the best version. But the layouts did falter on the two iPads.

The representatives posted three comments here that briefly appeared. I was torn as to whether to delete them or keep them up. But for now at least, I’ve taken them down as I think they were written in the heat of the moment.

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