From the Editor: Special Interest

By Andy Lien November 14, 2013

Categories: Lifestyles & Communities, Our Lives

It’s the Friday after the Minnesota Magazine & Publishing Association’s Excellence Awards ceremony…and the Friday we go to press. Often, I’m writing this letter at the “twelfth hour,” as my friend Bob so aptly named it. It’s late, I’m under-the-gun, mistakes tend to happen, and that’s just how it goes. We get ten business days per issue, my piece gets a few hours of that. It’s worth it, to be able to write about what’s relevant exactly as this issue goes from electronic to print in its format. Kind of like driving my Jeep on “E,” I get a little thrill out of it…though I might end up with an empty tank and a typo or two because of it.

So, what happened at the last minute that is so relevant for me to write about today? It’s a mix of long-awaited plans, last night’s awards, and what’s coming up next year in our Editorial Calendar. The past, present, and future are all rolling around in my brain, ready to drop into a glass of water and fizz like Alka Seltzer.

Lavender won eight awards at the MMPA ceremony last night. I’m very pleased with that number, especially since three of them are Gold Awards. I’ll make sure to show and tell about the awards in an upcoming issue (the irony in being the magazine that reports our own magazine awards doesn’t elude me), but last night was more of a reminder of how much work can be done here at Lavender. What was stuck in my system and required the virtual Alka Seltzer was our standing as being in the Special Interest category. If you follow my logic, it’s about how this community isn’t yet mainstream, not General Interest. This comes up every time there’s a snarky remark about how Lavender doesn’t even need to exist…that it’s unnecessary. But I always come back to the fact that until the GLBT community is prominent as part of what is General Interest in our society, it needs its space in the Special Interest category. I will rejoice heartily when it doesn’t.

As I was chewing on all of this last night, I started to smile. I realized that as a Special Interest category, we’ve got the prime standing as always having something fresh to talk about. In the past few years, I’ve noticed how our Editorial Calendar is fairly comprehensive for a small, independent bi-weekly magazine, but that it needs to cover more topics that are especially interesting to this Special Interest community. Sure, we’ve got arts, dining, travel, music, books, leather, news, vehicles, homes & garden, some politics, columnists, bars, booze, and history. But, I’ve wanted to expand into more areas of Special Interest like fashion, health, fitness, family, and sports.  Because this community not only includes the General Interest population but also the Special Interest population, we’ve got more reasons to be more diverse than any other publication out there.

Want Special Interest? We’ll have Special Interest.

So, starting in the first issue of 2014, in addition to our current Editorial Calendar, we’ll have new quarterly features including fashion, health, fitness, and family–as well as a new sports column in every issue. That’s almost doubling the Editorial Calendar by adding these topics that are specific and special to this community. I’m pleased that our success can lead us to this growth.

Fashion Quarterly. We’ve got a rich fashion community in the Twin Cities. Whether interested in the trends, the clothes, the accessories, the designers, the stores, or what’s happening behind the scenes, we’ll present more fashion to you on a regular basis.

Health Quarterly. Health in this community is more than a matter of special interest, it’s a matter of life and death. Living and dying–and how health figures into both–require a different perspective for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, or anywhere along the spectrum. As we progress through the year, we’ll have an opportunity to highlight and address concerns, as well as triumphs and victories, in GLBT health.

Fitness Quarterly. The stats show that this community has fitness high on its list of priorities. We can serve as a resource for the active members by talking to the professionals, doing how-to pieces for specific needs, and highlighting ways you can get involved in fitness groups that not only serve as an outlet for exercise but also for socializing with people in the community.

Family Quarterly. This community has families. Whether from heterosexual unions of whatever variety, adoption, artificial insemination, or undisclosed circumstances, it’s time for us to explore more of this topic. From how to get pregnant, adopt, or arrange the legal aspects of co-parenting to advice for raising kids as a same-sex couple, we’ll be asking the experts…and the experts include you, the parents.

Sports. Related to the topic of Fitness, this community is very sports-oriented. We’ve got leagues and players in rugby, football, basketball, bowling, soccer, baseball, softball, roller derby, swimming, running…the list goes on. We are going to do a Sports column in every issue to cover teams and players on the local, national, and international levels.

And there you have it. It’s my pledge to you that while our Special Interest publication has been only seeing more and more success, we won’t stop reaching further. We’ve been building a great magazine and online community, and will only continue to make it greater. Our breadth and depth will match more closely the community we represent and succeeding at that feat will be all the award we’ll need. Our Special Interests are diverse and our community members are engaging resources.

Thank you for being such a rich community to represent.

With you,
Andy

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