Welcome to 2016. I hope the end of 2015 was satisfying and the move into 2016 hasn’t been too jarring. I always like to take this first issue and look at what’s coming up for the next year for Lavender Media. It’s an exciting time and we’ve got fresh eyes and minds.
I’m extremely pleased that Shane Lueck is now a full-time presence in our editorial department. From starting as a student volunteer four years ago to becoming a part-time employee to now being with us in full capacity, his impact has shown favorably on what Lavender Media’s become in recent years. Shane’s hard work, self-direction, superb interview skills, story ideas, and ability to string together stories in record time are all aspects that will enable Lavender to expand our coverage and footprint in Minnesota and beyond and free up some of my time for growing our influence and reach in terms of visibility and involvement.
In terms of increased visibility and involvement, I’m also happy to welcome John Mark to Lavender Media as Arts Editor-At-Large. We’ve already seen John Mark’s work in our pages in features such as the recent fashion piece, “Wintering,” and profiles of Lizzo (in the Pride Issue) and Shamir (in this issue), and now he’ll be telling us what’s what on the back page of every issue starting with the next one. The idea of having an Arts Editor-At-Large indicates that we’re spreading out and being more intentional with our community involvement both here at home and globally. John Mark is a choreographer, creative director, producer, personality, and overall wonderful addition to the Lavender team.
The Lavender team will also be expanding as I’ll be able to direct more attention to working with students. A few times each year, I’ve been invited to speak to some classes and visiting journalists at some of the area colleges and universities. This niche publication of ours is such a unique media outlet in terms of history and reach and readership that to be able to tell people about it is a passion of mine. But, even more exciting, is the prospect of inviting students to work with us and create content, making the voices more diverse in age and experience and knowledge. How can I help train their eyes to see things through the diverse lens of this community? How can they teach me to expand what I know? How can I learn from them and their newer, less scratched lenses? If you’re a college student in an area of study that could benefit from collaborating with Lavender Media and you’re reading this, consider this your invitation to find this post on our website and read how you can submit materials to me to be considered for the student volunteer program (scroll to the end of this post). I’d be happy to look at your school’s internship guidelines and see if we can work together.
Also in the areas of visibility and involvement, please find Lavender on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Newsstand. Facebook is a fickle creature, prone to flights of fancy. Though I fought tooth and nail against having anything to do with math or math lingo in my life, I now have to pay attention to algorithms on social media, thanks to Facebook. I always have to laugh that it seems like we need to depend on Facebook, despite having a website with all of our stories very obvious and find-able right there at www.LavenderMagazine.com. But, still, most of us keep a tab open with Facebook as we go about our days on our computers and now prefer to be invited to websites for content by way of cleverly introduced links…and Lavender does that, too. We invite you to find, like, and follow “Lavender Magazine” so you can be the first to know when there’s fresh content on the website, both stories that are in our print issues as well as online-only content that occurs multiple times every day. We’ll also be running contests on Facebook, promoting our events, and posting call-for-entries for reader submissions for our wedding issues and other features for which we’d like your feedback.
If you’re more of a links-only kind of person, we’re at @lavmag on Twitter. Prefer pictures? Find us at @lavendermagazine on Instagram. Want each free issue delivered to you automatically on iPhone or iPad? Find “Lavender Magazine” on Newsstand and subscribe. We want you to have as much access to our free content as possible, and we don’t even bug you with pop-up ads or videos that take over your computer when you click into our site. We can’t stand those hurdles in our own user experiences; we won’t do that to you, either. Find us, find our content, and find what you need without barriers.
Please tune in for Big Gay News. You can find it at @biggaynews on Twitter, subscribe to the Big Gay News podcast, and also follow it on Facebook. Linda Raines and Shane Lueck compile the stories and Shane and I started splitting the podcasting duties late in 2015 after taking over the reins from Pierre Tardif. I’ve learned that no matter how much I try to follow current world events for all sorts of subjects, yet one more news source for the Big Gay News makes my days even that much more rich. Not only do the stories keep me informed, but they help me draw connections between different world events and what goes on here in Minnesota. We are only a small part of such a big picture.
Here’s to a year full of rich information and experiences. Thank you for joining us and I’ll see you online, on the stands, and at our events.
With thanks and love.