“You have to be able to read it in the bath”

Corinna Virchow, who holds a PhD in German studies, has just launched a magazine for the humanities called Avenue. The publication is a partnership with Mario Kaiser and is due to appear online and in print. Interview

(From "Horizons" no. 107, December 2015) ​​​​

How is Avenue innovative?

It will address the humanities as a whole, rather than just being about history,
psychology or philosophy. This approach is lacking in the German-speaking world.
The current choice of magazines often shows scholarship and science as a grouping
of immutable facts into articles. These sometimes come across as compendiums of guidelines. We feel we’re much closer to scholarship, and we want to show how it’s
a continually evolving process.

How will you do that?

Our websites allows readers to leave comments at specific points in an article.
This promotes a factual discussion, based on specific arguments. What’s more:
there’s no need to sign up, you just have to leave your e-mail address. We wanted
to avoid the trap whereby general debates take place underneath online articles
and diverge quickly from the subject at hand. Authors are able to reply and then we
decide which articles will go into print.

Who is writing the articles?

Researchers, off-campus scientists and journalists. Then we’ll be the ones getting
our hands dirty on the editorial side of things, because we want articles that
can be understood in 10 minutes. You have to be able to read Avenue in the bath!
A magazine is a thing of beauty. We’re aiming for "Brad Pitt with spectacles", a blend of intelligence and beauty.

What is your business model?

We were able to raise start-up money, but in the longer term we’ll be counting on
advertising income and subscriptions to the print magazine. We’re still negotiating
distribution with the major Swiss publishers, and we are also thinking about
guerrilla marketing. Furthermore, we are going to create ads based on extracts
from the magazine and place them at bus stops. That’s the ideal time to connect with
people’s minds, isn't it?

What will be the topic of the first issue?