Fourteen years and six months ago this magazine first hit the stands as a biweekly publication dedicated to serving Utah’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and ally community. In the hard economic times of 2012, we looked at our resources and realized we couldn’t sustain that model and became a monthly magazine and greater focus on our website delivering breaking news.
Beginning with Issue 285, we are proud to announce that we are returning to a biweekly model, with a twist. The issue is only available to readers online at qsaltlake.com/current-q/. All of our issues have been made available online for many years now, but this is the first that will never see print.
Yes, we will still maintain a monthly print edition as we have for so many years. I love a physical, printed magazine. I love the feel of paper. I love that I tend to read the issue more thoroughly, catching stories that would otherwise fly by me on a computer screen.
I find that when I read the online editions, I still catch those stories. I actually bought an Amazon Fire so I can read out on the deck with a cup of coffee in the morning. Me, a papyrophiliac, reading on a cold plastic machine.
What I tend to enjoy are the new advances that have come along on digital publications. If I see an advertisement or a story with a link to tickets, I can click right there and go to the advertiser’s or ticketing company’s page. I can zoom in on a story that I’m reading and sometimes find a longer version than available on the page.
And now there is video. In issue 285 you will find a story on Stan Penfold’s announcement that he will run for mayor of Salt Lake City. With one click you will be able to watch his announcement as if you were there. Rather than just reading a story on a video that’s gone viral, you can watch the video as you are reading the issue.
We thought long and hard about expanding back to biweekly. It seemed that, as a monthly publication, news waited to happen until after we hit the “send to press” button on the last page. Argh! We always felt more in rhythm with the flow of news on a 14-day cycle. We also felt limited in the number of voices we could bring to the community because of space.
Cost, of course, was a major concern. It costs a lot to print the thousands of copies that are trucked 109 miles to Q Towers each month. Then we pay drivers both hourly and by the mile to haul them to hundreds of locations from Logan to Provo. We also must maintain racks, manage relationships with the many locations as they move, go out of business, open new locations, change managers, etc. Doubling our annual cost was out of the question.
The environment was also a major consideration. Each issue of QSaltLake uses about 14 trees and who knows how much gasoline. We announced last month that we have joined with the National Forest Foundation to plant a tree for every one we use in our national forests to help replace those lost to fire and other issues. Our paper companies also replace trees they use, so we are actually doing a twofer on trees. We also buy carbon offsets for the amount of gas- or coal-powered energy we use. We lost our driver who delivered with his Prius, which gave us warm fuzzies.
Lastly, while we believe we will always print our publications, we also know that many people prefer to read us online. My partner lives in a house where there are dozens of current issues laying around but still reads us on his MacBook. We also know that more than half of our online readers read us on their cellphone. Four thousand people, on average, read each issue in the first month it is published. In all, we have had over a million reads of our publications since we started offering them on the Issuu platform in July of 2012. In fact, 1,061,744 as I write this article.
Some LGBT-focused publications have gone fully digital in the past several years. Two of our sister publications that are part of the National Equality Media Association, of which QSaltLake Magazine is a founding member and I am now vice president, including QVegas (now QLife) and PQ Portland, made the full transition in 2015 and 2018, respectively. We have determined, after talking with many of our readers, that this dual option is what Utah’s LGBTQ community wants.
We are excited to be expanding again. We’d love to be incredibly open to new voices, and hope you’ll consider adding yours to our Views pages. Please give our online editions a try, and continue to find the printed issues at coffee shops, restaurants and bars up and down the Wasatch Front and display them proudly on your coffee table.
Onward and upward.