Surprising and Delighting Through Print Magazine Curation: Meet Stack’s Steve Watson (Podcast)

Mia Quagliarello / November 2, 2021

“We’re not trying to pick something that fits our subscribers’ tastes and interests. In a way, we’re sort of doing the opposite: the point of Stack is that you come to us because you want to be exposed to things that you wouldn’t have come upon yourself.” — Steve Watson, Stack

Contrary to what you may have heard, print magazines are not dead. In fact, “there’s a good chance that this thing is going to stay on the earth for longer than you will,” says Steve Watson, the ultimate magazine curator.

As the founder and curator of Stack, Steve is responsible for curating the world’s periodicals, carefully selecting the most original and interesting ones for his online shop and subscription service. It’s high-stakes curation: he must continually outdo himself so that subscribers are regularly surprised and delighted by unexpected selections. Titles like Ordinary to Safar make the case that this is an art-form that needs to be preserved — and Stack is here for it.  

Highlights, inspiration and key learnings:

  • Geeking out over print magazines
  • Looking for something not seen before 
  • Remember “Raygun”?
  • The art of magazine making in the digital age
  • How he curates the Stack magazine service
  • How much of an editor’s imprint is visible in magazines
  • Which magazines belong in a hall of fame
  • Which countries are the best at magazine making
  • Could a machine do his job?
  • What’s challenging about running Stack
  • Magazines: keep, recycle or something else?

Browse the companion Storyboard to get the episode itself, plus links to the magazines Steve talks about in the show as well as his own culture picks. 

And don’t forget to rate and subscribe to our podcast if you like what you hear. You can find “The Art of Curation” on Flipboard and wherever you listen to your podcasts: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Amazon Podcasts. A new episode drops every Tuesday!

Mia Quagliarello, head of creator community and newsletters, is curating the curators in “The Art of Curation” podcast