This is the last full issue of 2014. Wow. The year has flown by. With the Yellow Pages coming out before the calendar turns, this is the last one with editorial content, so I’ll be dancing a jig over the holidays as I get a reprieve from the relentless editorial calendar. As much as I love what I do, it’s good to hit the reset button and really consider what 2015 will bring; which will be, in two words, a lot.
Looking back at 2014, we have seen great successes. This issue is our opportunity to review them and see them more in hindsight. What Lavender does daily and bi-weekly is create content for the community that fits into a larger picture. By looking back at that content, we can see how what we’ve done can shape a narrative for Minnesota, this community, and beyond. What do our statistics show us? They reveal what’s important, what you liked, what was shared, what resonated.
In our print magazine, people were abuzz about people…and fitness. As shown on pages 36 & 37, learning about where and how to get in shape was important, but people are where our hearts and minds are. People are what make this community what it is. We met couples who married and have kids, we met faith leaders, we mourned a murder in the community, we celebrated our Lavender Community Award Winners and our Class of 2014. We met some celebrities, including Jaiyah Saelua, John Gidding, Mayda Miller, and Grant Whittaker. We learned about each other and how we’ve made our own ways through life in this community.
Online, we had a different set of stories that caught the attention of readers far and wide, detailed on pages 38 & 39. Our big scene-stealers at LavenderMagazine.com are always the online magazine and Big Gay News, as well as the fantastic event photography. Whether you attend events in the community or not, you can find photos of the beautiful people who are out there at fundraisers and shows, political rallies and vigils, archived in history on our website. What also can be found in our list of popular online stories are reviews of shows that are performed locally as well as interviews with national stars like Blake McIver and Sandra Bernhard. Lav.fash got some great attention with one of their many fashion shows and Randy Stern’s Ride Review had some particularly hot reviews of some of the Hondas he test drove this year. It’s all in a day’s work on the internet.
As far as our different platforms are concerned, we’ve seen increased use and involvement on both our website and our iPad/iPhone app downloads. Our website continues providing unique content for online reading only, while our app increases availability of our bi-weekly issue (and it’s delivered to your device automatically). As always, our content is free and presented without any gateways to go through; you don’t have to sign in, you don’t have to watch a video to see it, you don’t have to answer a survey question, you don’t have to wait through ad screens…you get what you came for, immediately and without a catch. And we intend to keep it that way.
Finally, as a measure of third-party esteem, we won a number of Excellence Awards at the Minnesota Magazine & Publishing Association’s annual awards ceremony in November, as listed on pages 32 & 33. Going to that awards ceremony for the past three years has meant a night of nerves and nausea for me each time, but it’s always well worth the suffering. Taking home 12 of them was the best we’ve done so far in my time at Lavender, something I hope to exceed next year. What’s more, to my surprise and delight, we were one of the finalists for Magazine of the Year, meaning we are in the top five of the eligible publications that belong to the MMPA. The pool of magazines is deep and large, and we’re one of the big fish this year. That’s an achievement not just for Lavender, but for the community we represent; and it’s one that I take very seriously as we move into 2015.
Looking ahead to 2015, I’ll be busier than ever, introducing ten new issue concepts to the editorial calendar. This year, we introduced four quarterlies—health, fitness, fashion, and children & family—which are proving to be great areas of growth for the magazine and the audience. Next year, within the 26-issue cycle, we’re adding to our home & garden issues, we’ll double our health & fitness coverage, and we’ll include more quarterlies—senior living and pets—as well as issues dedicated to money, sports, cars, wedding style, and other topics specific to the rainbow community. In there, we’ll keep our columnists and add a few more, as well as maintain inclusive content coverage for the community. There’ll be a Lavender Sports Page on our website. We’ll have even more larger issues than previous years and our footprint will continue its expansion locally as well as globally. And, since this summary is pretty much a syllabus of everything I need to get busy studying and researching, I admit that I’m pretty excited for next year (maybe a little pre-exhausted, too). Really, I can’t wait.
So, what I’ve got left to say for 2014 is a big heartfelt thank you. Thank you for reading, thank you for attending events, thank you for following us on Facebook and Twitter, thank you for answering my calls and emails, thank you for giving us your time and talent and stories and ideas, thank you for supporting our advertisers. I wish you the best during this holiday season and toast your health and happiness at the closing of the year.
With you and with thanks,