Symbolia MagazineSymbolia, headed by Erin Polgreen, strives to be the ideal place to foster the growth of comics journalism, engaging a new generation of news consumers in a way that is exciting and accessible. Symbolia will mesh first-person reports, infographics and comics by pairing reporters and comics artists. Regular alerts via Twitter and e-newsletters will keep Symbolia on a bi-monthly schedule.

Symbolia launches into space for 1-year anniversary

March 4, 2014 Erin Polgreen

Black holes and Mars and space arcitechture? Symbolia celebrates 1-year on earth by delving into the things that seem like sci-fi. Subscribe to Symbolia on iPad or via PDF today.


Polgreen joins board, talks marketing

February 11, 2014 Erin Polgreen

Symbolia founder and new NMWE advisory board member Erin Polgreen talks about successful guerilla marketing for her venture into comics journalism.


Symbolia: The Confessional

August 1, 2013 Erin Polgreen

The next issue of Symbolia,  the comics journalism magazine, is  looking to tell all. This issue will focus on thoughtful, revealing, and sometimes humorous first-person memoirs.

We’re looking for stories of fundamental change, rites of passage, and personal transformation. Think secret lives, travels, survival, adventure, perseverance, and coming to know oneself. This issue will build on a strong tradition of autobiographical comics and zines.

We hope to push the boundaries for interactive content in this issue and look forward to pitches with intriguing ideas for sounds, animation, and other elements that will enhance the story. We’re looking for writers, artists, and journalists with experience crafting interactive content. We will pay special attention to pitches for global stories. Note that all work will be fact-checked and will need to be well-documented. Symbolia pays creators for their work.

The deadline to submit a pitch for this issue is FRIDAY, AUGUST 9.

Learn more here:



And here’s a ...

Symbolia Generates Buzz, Builds a Brand

June 5, 2013 Erin Polgreen

Symbolia has made it through its first six months! In the last month, we’ve released our second issue, debuted a collaboration with PopSci and Tumblr, launched on Kindle Fire, and are moving towards with a fully-built out Android app to follow in June.

We currently have just under 850 subscribers across iPad and PDF, and over 6,500 people have downloaded our free issue. While subscriptions have slowed down a bit, we are still making great progress towards our year-end goal of 3,000 subscribers. Note: Symbolia becomes sustainable at 3,000 subscribers, but will break even at around 1,500.

Symbolia has allowed me to completely rebrand myself and my expertise in under a year. We are supported by a community of leaders in the journalism, literary, and tech worlds. I’m so proud to be leading such a creative and exciting project.

Symbolia is an internationally renowned publication, and it has brought me opportunities to speak ... Read more...

Symbolia Expands to Kindle Fire

May 9, 2013 Erin Polgreen

As part of an expansion strategy, the comics journalism venture Symbolia is now available on the Kindle Fire e-reader.


Meet Symbolia

December 4, 2012 Erin Polgreen

Symbolia on iTunesSymbolia has arrived. And we are so excited to share it with you. Symbolia mixes the best of comics art with thoughtful journalism from around the world.
Here’s how to get your mitts on our preview issue today:


Some Thoughts on Tone

November 27, 2012 Erin Polgreen

SymboliaI’ve been thinking a lot about truth, tone, and entertainment lately. Now that Symbolia is approaching launch (expect an announcement very soon!), we’re planning for future issues and are lining up stories as we go.

I’m bumping up against a bit of an editorial challenge, though. How do we balance personality – or editorial tone ¬¬– with solid reporting and a well-defined brand? I’m not talking about fact-checking or “how to DO comics journalism.” That’s not the problem.

Symbolia’s Creative Director Joyce Rice and I have developed a visual style for Symbolia that feels hand-crafted, clever, bright, and slightly folksy. We love comics and journalism because they add whimsy, celebrate curiosity, and bring artists into the news process. We are also deeply committed to telling true stories.

For years, I’ve been speaking about comics in the newsroom, and every time, editors ask me about subjectivity and truth. We work very ... Read more...

Back from ONA 2012

September 27, 2012 Erin Polgreen

I attended the annual Online News Association Conference last week. It was really a fantastic opportunity to connect with other NWME grantees–Hi Jeanne and Sarah!–and other digital journalists.

ONA12 was the first time I was able to showcase near-final versions of Symbolia’s app to other journalists/future of media types. Overall, feedback was really positive. It was really great to see part of our core audience playing with the app. I definitely picked up a few user behaviors that I hadn’t seen with other testers.

For example, app usage instructions shouldn’t take more than 15-20 seconds to skim and grasp. Ours are tight, but could be even tighter. While new iPad users spent more time learning how to use the device and app, those with iPhone-iPad-smart phone experience tended to dive in headfirst, swiping and skimming and tapping on interactive elements at very quick speeds.

I gave a ...

New Milestones!

September 18, 2012 Erin Polgreen

Live Long - SymboliaMilestones Managed!
Symbolia has passed some major milestones in the past few months, as you can see from the images accompanying this post. Our preview issue will feature four blazingly colorful stories from a variety of creators, including Sarah Glidden’s sensitive exploration of life in Iraqi Kurdistan, Susie Cagle’s opus on California’s Salton Sea, and Andy Warner and Lauren Sommer’s investigation into the microflora in your gut.

In the press
The Chicago Tribune’s Christopher Borrelli, who recently covered Chicago’s growing comics journalism scene, had this to say about contributor Susie’s story (Warning, the link requires a digital subscription.):

“…It condenses environmental degradation and class difference, history and anxiety, empathy and anger into about two dozen bright, smartly illustrated pages, painting a literal, graspable narrative of a complex subject.”

Speaking of press, I was also profiled recently by the Society for News Design. It ... Read more...

Early Inspiration for Symbolia

July 14, 2012 Erin Polgreen

Symbolia will debut this fall on the iPad, and building its foundation has been an exciting process. Early on, I spent a lot of time researching aesthetics and UI to see what lessons I could apply to Symbolia. I downloaded many, many magazines and media-related apps to pinpoint strategic hits and misses. I’ve downloaded apps that have innovative design and terrible content, magazines of all shapes and sizes, and too many comic books to count.

For my first NWME blog, I thought I would share some of my favorite apps and tablet magazines. These publications aren’t perfect, but as early innovators in the tablet space, they are pretty inspiring.


Making a Dummy

July 5, 2012 Erin Polgreen