This is my last issue as editor of OutWords. As I start to write this I’m not really sure where it will go. For one thing, I’m not accustomed to writing about myself. Yet, it seems appropriate to let readers know there will be changes at the magazine. It’s only natural that a new editor will have fresh ideas that will be reflected in the content and look of the magazine.
It’s also possible that instead of a single editor at the helm, the magazine will be in the hands of a group of editors and writers – a writers’ co-op of sorts. This is a wonderful opportunity for rebirth and growth for the magazine. It’s also the perfect time for you, the reader, to voice your opinion about where you want the magazine to go. You might also consider jumping on board as a volunteer or contributor. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never worked on a magazine or you have no journalism experience, there’s a good chance you’ll find a home at OutWords. You will definitely make some good friends.
I have been with OutWords in one capacity or another for six years. It has been a rich and rewarding experience. It’s a lot of fun to put out a monthly magazine for the GLBT community. It’s unlike any other kind of publication. Sure other media outlets carry news of queer issues – and many do it well and with sensitivity – but none put it all together in the way OutWords can. That’s not bragging, that’s because we put it out through a rainbow lens.
I should also add that it’s been an honour to work with so many talented and creative people over the years. And I want to emphasize that everyone who has ever contributed to OutWords has been a volunteer or a freelancer. There have never been any full-time staffers. OutWords is successful, but the magazine has never been able to afford full-timers or pay contributors what they are really worth. Maybe this will change some day but it’s likely this magazine will always remain a labour of love – and that’s OK.
I would be remiss if I didn’t admit to a few frustrations. As a small non-profit magazine with limited funds we have never been able to fulfill all of our dreams. The queer community is rich with fascinating, creative and adventurous people. We have tried to give voice to their stories but we have barely scratched the surface. It’s also a community that is spread far and wide in every metropolis and rural community across Canada. We have long wanted to reach out to as many people as possible, but that, too, is a dream that will be left for another day.
The future of OutWords is difficult to foresee. Our advertisers have been loyal and wonderful to work with. But advertising revenues aren’t guaranteed and there are no government grants to help us cover costs. These are problems many media face today. And the answers so far don’t exist on the Internet. Yet, there is reason to be optimistic that OutWords will continue to thrive and evolve well into the future. For one thing, there will likely always be a need for a niche publication for the queer community. And the queer community has always solidly supported this magazine. Furthermore, every time there has been staff turnover, new people have stepped up with fresh energy and exciting ideas.
For my part, I will turn my energies to other projects that have been on the backburner for some time. But I hope the new editorial team will welcome the occasional article or column from me. And I look forward to picking up my monthly copy of OutWords to find out what is happening under the rainbow umbrella.
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