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Newsletters have a long fannish history and have been published in many different formats both online and in print.

History of Newsletter Formats

Offline, newsletters were generally exactly that: "letters" (actually usually small stapled publications) filled with news, among other things. They could function as APAs, full of letters, stories, and art from various contributors; provided convention and zine information; organized charity events; and so forth.

They were a way for fans to keep in touch on a regular basis, for what was usually a reasonable cost. They may or may not have been associated with a fanclub, as well (and if so, a subscription was generally included in the membership dues). For example, most of the Beauty and the Beast fanclubs in the 1990s had newsletters associated with them.[1]

The next generation were electronic versions sent by email to a subscriber base, free of charge. These ran a similar gamut, offering up news, information such as episode guides and airing dates, transcribed interviews, quizzes and other text-based games, and maybe stories and filks. They existed for many fandoms, and provided a clearinghouse for information, collecting information from newsgroups, mailing lists, and sometimes offline fandom as well.

Some of them made the transition from print to online, such as Black Bean Soup, a Starsky and Hutch newsletter that kept going into the late 1990s, and included news about the show, the actors, conventions, zines; a resources listing; a fandom glossary; fanfic; letters from the membership; and quizzes.[2]

Some of the email newsletters are still available in archived text files on the web, such as On the Jazz, the A-Team newsletter active during the mid-1990s.[3]

Others are still active today, such as The Zocalo, the newsletter for Babylon 5 fans.[4]

Newsletter communities on LiveJournal and similar services can be thought of as an attempt to centralise and archive content on LiveJournal by topic, instead of by person. The format is of one large post per issue that aggregates links to other posts on Livejournal et al., put together by either one or a team of editors.

History on LiveJournal

The Due South Reporter, created in July 2002 by Speranza, was the precursor to modern LiveJournal newsletters. It was a mix of noticeboard and newsletter formats: it had separate entries for each item like a noticeboard, but had a set group of editors who added the links (rather than allowing individual fans to add their own).

The first true newsletter was Quick Quote, founded by little_needle on the 13th of January, 2004.[5] It updated several times a day and carried news about Harry Potter fandom.

The idea spread quickly. The Daily Snitch (HP) and The Sunnydale Herald (Buffyverse) followed in May of that year. Four Lobsters (LotRiPS) began in June and In Babylon (QAF) and 3 Hours Missing (Without a Trace) in August 2004.

Nowadays, a newsletter is one of the first communities to be founded by emerging fandoms, sometimes even before the source text officially premieres as is evidenced by the creation of Chuck News in Chuck fandom. The community was founded in July 2007, two months before the show, Chuck, was supposed to premiere on 24 September 2007 and only a day after it was screened at Comic-Con on 27 July 2007.[6][7]

Other milestones in the development of newsletters include the integration of metafandom was one of the first newsletters to use delicious to automatically generate pre-formatted newsletter issues.[8]

History on TinyLetter

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Example Newsletters

See also


  1. ^ Local Groups and Fan Clubs, a collection of BatB fan clubs from the mid-1990s. Accessed February 3, 2010.
  2. ^ Personal memory of the email newsletter, which I really wish I hadn't lost in a computer crash, and the wayback version of the web portal to the newsletter, accessed February 3, 2010.
  3. ^ On the Jazz archive, accessed February 3, 2010.
  4. ^ The Zocalo, complete with "subscribe now" button. Accessed February 3, 2010.
  5. ^ little_needle. Vol. 1, Issue 01, posted on 13 January 2004 at quickquote. (Accessed 04 October 2008)
  6. ^ Chuck News' profile. (Accessed 04 October 2008.)
  7. ^ yaiyah. edition 1, posted on 28 July 200 at chucknews. (Accessed 04 October 2008.)
  8. ^ Lim. Metafandom is changing, posted on 07 April 2007 at metafandom. (Accessed 04 October 2008.)