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Behind the scenes of the Mangrovia newsletter

Seeds, sprouts, sap, and canopies in your mailbox every week

Sofia Marasca
a story by
Sofia Marasca
Behind the scenes of the Mangrovia newsletter

The Mangrovia newsletter arrives in your inbox once a week, usually on Saturday around 3 PM, sometimes later. It has a set structure, consisting of four sections that cover the life cycle of plants: Seeds, Sprouts, Sap, and Canopies.

It features the two episodes of the Zenit podcast released during the week, the two new longform articles just published on the site, a recommendation for an event, a call for artists, or a job or training opportunity, and finally an extra listening or reading suggestion.

We like to think that, by reading it, you can make a new mangrove bloom and grow in your thoughts.

2022: the first seed

The first seed of the Mangrovia editorial project began as a newsletter: in 2022, the cultural organisation Sineglossa decided to have a channel on the Substack1 platform to publicly share information—from news or projects discussed in the office to reading recommendations and suggestions that passed through the internal group chat “Shared Knowledge”.

Today, Substack has taken on the logic of a social network2, with several features parallel to the newsletter, but this was not always the case: just two years ago, it did not follow the logic of the creator economy’s attention-seeking, it did not oblige the writer to “attract” the attention of an audience, but instead aimed at an alternative content economy model that helped people “take back their minds” and decide their own “information diet”3, meaning by whom and how to inform themselves.


The Mangrovia newsletter was born from the need to make Sineglossa known not only through what it does, i.e., the projects it manages or the methodologies it develops, but also through what it reads, sees, and listens to. Much like the best job interviews, where discussions extend beyond technical skills to the last book read or the dream trip: writing this newsletter aimed to bring different people closer to the Sineglossa organisation not just for the results it achieves but also for its values and interests.

For the first two years, from 2022 to 2024, curated by Alessandra Navazio and me, the newsletter was published approximately every two months with an editorial and collaborative nature: each issue aggregated stimuli and suggestions about culture, technology, and society based on the interests (and sometimes obsessions) of the people in our organisation.

«From the very beginning it was something we loved to do» Alessandra Navazio says.

«It was an activity that was both relaxing and exciting: on one hand, it allowed us to organise all the materials we came across and that for some reason we felt the need to reread, study and reconnect, and on the other hand we felt we were cultivating a new and unprecedented relationship with our community.

The newsletter is a more direct and perceived as “authentic” channel compared to social networks, where editorial communication can take a more coherent and organic form, less subject to algorithmic logic that penalises reach and message visibility.

In 2024, the newsletter was reconceived as part of the overall editorial project: each week it is written with the aim of sending, directly to the e-mail box of those who subscribe, the articles and podcasts that the Mangrovia editorial team produces each week, linking them together in a different key.

What the Mangrovia newsletter looks like

Each newsletter begins with the Seeds section, reproductive and dissemination organs, that lie still until favourable growing conditions allow them to develop. In the newsletter, the Seeds are the two enlightening stories from the Zenit podcast that Carlo Ferretti writes and records each week, based on research and news we come across in the editorial team.

The newsletter then continues with the Sprouts, the set of newly emerged stems and leaves thanks to the power of a bud. In Sprouts we simply aim to do so: to explore the power of those words that, like a gem, take root in the daily debates of the reader and in his or her imagination.

Words that stimulate reflections on the ethics of journalism, on underrepresented people, on stories from the Global South that are not always easy to detect but are increasingly necessary to understand the world we live in.

Our sprout is thus a word-sprout, to which we link the two articles of the week. The connection between the word and the pieces is always there: sometimes it is explicit, sometimes it is up to the reader to find it between the lines.

Following the “Seeds” and “Sprouts” sections, which highlight the magazine’s content, come the “Sap” and “Canopies” sections, further spaces for exploration and deepening through event recommendations, open calls, and reading suggestions.

Sap flows within the plants, from the roots to the leaves and vice versa, ensuring their nourishment with water, sugars, and mineral salts. The collection of water and salts from the soil can also be assisted by filaments of certain fungi, which form mycorrhizae with the roots. Sap flows like the time that nourishes: it has always seemed to us an excellent metaphor to contextualise the events, open calls, and job offers we propose.

These suggestions are collected in shared spreadsheets and often come from projects mentioned in Sineglossa meetings or launched by Mangrovia’s partners, or even from messages that reach us from social networks or via e-mail that we are happy to share if we perceive a common sensitivity and a thematic connection with the habitat explored by Mangrovia during the month.

The Canopies close the newsletter: a complex of branches and leaves, with their many forms and shades of colour, resemble the flourishing knowledge we identify each week, namely books, short films, films, and excerpts from newsletters akin to ours. Our proposals for deepening knowledge reach out to the reader, flexible and robust like the branches of a canopy, to pose questions, sometimes even uncomfortable ones, but ones that make you tremble like leaves in the wind.

How can it keep growing?

Within three months, the number of Mangrovia newsletter readers has tripled: these numbers encourage us and urge us to keep up our commitment to carefully curating content, consistently analysing the needs of our readers, and developing sponsorship methods, including branded content, to make the entire project sustainable.

We can already design content in partnership with other creators, suggest other newsletters for our audience to subscribe to or be recommended ourselves, as well as experiment with information and entertainment formats such as the proposal of a personalised playlist to accompany reading, based on tracks linked to the places described in the podcasts or articles, or that evoke the habitat of the month.


  1. Substack is a newsletter design and publishing platform: founded in 2017, it became popular among freelance content creators for the functionality of creating newsletters for free or on subscription. ↩︎
  2. On the change of Substack, see the article Malik A. (2023). Substack expands further into social networking with a new ‘Follow’ button, Tech Crunch. ↩︎
  3. We discussed why we chose Substack and embraced its content distribution model in the third issue of the newsletter: ↩︎


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