I've been subscribing to the Field Notes Quarterly Editions for over a year now. Each quarter I look forward to the big reveal followed by actually receiving and holding the current edition in my hands. Since I'm in Canada, I usually receive the package a few days or even 1-2 weeks after the official release. However, I've notice that for the last few shipments, I've been getting them earlier and earlier.
In general, I've been enjoying the Field Notes offerings of variations on the standard memo notebook. The themes have been fun and the subscriber goodies have been, well, good.
When I saw the video for the most recent Quarterly Edition, I thought it was interesting but I wasn't crazy about the "radical" format and those SPIRALS. So, I've been surprised to my own response to the Byline Edition when I finally did get my hands on it.
The Byline Edition is a reporter's notebook designed with input from John Dickerson, veteran reporter an host of CBS' Face the Nation. It's a great story. Dickerson is a Field Notes fan. He wants a reporter's notebook like the ones he used to use. So he writes to Field Notes and asks them nicely to make one, even offering to help. How cool is that?
I've never knew there were such things as a reporter's notebook. Never used one. I vaguely remember seeing Clark Kent and Lois Lane use them in the Superman movies. But I didn't realize they were a "thing".
The love, care and attention that went into the creation of the Byline Edition is evident. For this review I won't going into a detailed description of the notebook. Instead, I will focus on my thoughts and feelings on using it.
Things I Like
The cardboard stock cover is sturdier than usual. The cover is designed in such a way that the spirals don't show in the front and top. Even at the back, only a little it of the spirals shows. In other words: there is no snagging of the spirals on other things and no need to fear scratching precious things like fountain pen bodies. The back cover sports a slip pocket useful for stuffing receipts, business cards and other such small pieces of paper.
Eagle Logo & Sticker
On the front cover is an eagle logo that simply looks cool. Quarterly edition subscribers also received a sticker with the same logo. This is wicked.
In the notebook are lots of reporter references in keeping with the theme such as "Talk Like Ben Bradley" and a legend for common proof reading marks. While these features don't necessarily make the notebook more value-added for my use case, I do find they make the edition quirky, original and fun.
This edition does NOT contain the usual Field Notes paper. The 70 lb (105 gm) vellum paper is off-white with a golden brown college rule (Field Notes calls the colour "Double Knee Duck Canvas" - uh, ok.) The 7.1 mm college rule works well for cursive italics and stub. This paper feels smooth, like soft glass if there were such a thing. The best part is that the paper is fountain pen friendly! I tried nib sizes from needlepoint through music nibs. The paper doesn't feather. Depending on the nib and ink, I can sometimes see some ghosting. Occasionally I get bleed through with particularly wet nib and ink combinations.
I really love this paper. It's the most fountain pen friendly paper ever used in a Field Notes notebooks since I've been a user. It feels heavy, substantial and smooth. Writing feels really nice with very little paper feedback.
#Things I Didn't Like
Not much. The only "negative" I have is that it's not the standard Field Notes size. It won't fit nicely my Field Notes wooden storage box. It won't fit in any carry cases I have on hand. I can carry it with my standard Travelers Notebook, though, tucked under the elastic.
#Writing Experience and Closing
As I mentioned earlier, the paper is great for use with my fountain pens. the notebook is still light enough for me to stash in my briefcase or handbags. I could see it being useful for keeping stats at a Blue Jays baseball game at the ballpark, making groceries or packing lists and just use on-the-road. I've enjoined it a lot more than I thought I would. I think I may just order a few more packs to keep on hand. It turned out to be the Field Note that I've been most excited to use over the past few quarters.
If you haven't got one already, I highly recommend the Byline Edition. What do you think of the Byline Edition? Might you find a use for it amongst all your notebooks?