That’s slated for November 2013. But the Archer Magazine website is up and running, and it looks really good!
The LGBTIQ rainbow family is incredibly, incredibly diverse. Yet I don’t think that this is always represented well in gay media. I think that what we often see are narrow depictions (of what we’re ‘supposed’ to be) aimed at a well defined target market (of who we ‘supposedly’ are). Those who are outside of that target market, aren’t really well catered for.
I’m not a magazine editor or publisher, but I do understand that magazines are a commercial venture. They need to sell copies, and lots of them. That would explain the attractive, semi-naked young guys on the covers of a lot of them. I don’t have a problem with this. I just wish that we could expand the definition of attractiveness to include a wider variety of shapes, sizes, colours and ages.
This is one of the things I like most about Archer Magazine. It really seems to be focused on exploring and highlighting sexual diversity. I recently interviewed Archer Magazine editor Amy Middleton. We talked about the current state and future of print media, the challenges of catering to a diverse readership and about the upcoming launch of Archer Magazine.
There’s a lot of talk these days about the future (and predicted demise) of print media. It strikes me as a bold move to be launching a new print magazine at such a time. What are your views about the role of print media today, and into the future?
As a journalist, I hear a lot of negative talk about the fiscal performance of print media these days, and of course it’s true to a point. But online media isn’t exactly a cash cow either. When I venture into Mag Nation, it’s thriving with people who enjoy reading as a tactile experience. I feel a responsibility to support that industry because I’m able to contribute to it, and because I genuinely believe it has value.
On a more specific note, Archer is supposed to act as a relic of 2013 in terms of the sexual equality movement, and our national attitudes and ideals. In that sense, it needs to be tangible – so readers can revisit the text and images and, like a photo album, remember the way things used to be.
How did Archer Magazine come about?
The idea was born out of my own desire for a publication that solely focuses on sexual diversity and equality, with in-depth articles and intelligent debate. You can find this stuff online, but it’s scattered, and often it doesn’t have an exclusively Australian slant. I guess when you’ve been a journalist for 10 years and you have a brilliant idea for a magazine, you have a duty to do something about it. Otherwise you’re just being lazy.
As gay rights move more into mainstream consciousness, what role do you see Archer Magazine, as well as gay media in general, as playing? Is there more or less of a need for dedicated gay media at a time when we seem to be moving towards equality?
I thought about this question a lot when I was starting up Archer. I agree that gay rights are in the mainstream consciousness, but that doesn’t mean it’s in a positive or accepting light. As society shifts, it fans the fire in those who oppose gay rights.
A perfect example was the reaction to the legalisation of same-sex marriage in France. The extreme right went nuts. There was violence on the streets, and an 18-year-old boy was bashed to death in Paris. That tells me unequivocally that there is a need for discussion long after a small legislation is changed.
One of my main criticisms of some sections of gay media is that it’s too narrow in its depiction and representation of who we are. On the other hand, I realise that having an attractive, semi-naked young guy on a cover sells. How do you as an editor, balance this? How do you create intelligent, diverse and niche content, but make it accessible and appealing to a wide market?
The great thing about starting a magazine outside of a commercial venture is that you don’t need to focus too much on appealing to the wider market. It’s quite liberating for an editor to have goals apart from making money. The first issue is crowd-funded, not sales-funded, so at least for now, we’ll print what we think is important, meaningful and intelligent.
Don’t get me wrong, the photography we have commissioned for the first issue is incredible. Our image curator, Alexis, has an amazing eye for photography – but we won’t make any editorial decisions based on financial success. That would be redundant, at this point.
The first edition of Archer Magazine will be released in November 2013, yet you’ve already established an online and social media presence. What’s the reaction been like so far and what is some of the feedback you’ve been receiving?
The response has been amazing. The first person I told about the magazine was my girlfriend, who said: “That’s a great idea.” From then on, we’ve had similar responses. Everyone agrees it’s an important venture, and people are impassioned about the content. Almost everyone we asked to contribute writing or photography was super keen, because I guess it’s a topic people feel needs support.
You’re currently crowd funding your first edition. How can people contribute, and what will that money be used for?
Crowd funding seems to be the way new media starts up these days, and Archer is essentially for the people, so it seemed to make sense. I think there’s a real thirst for new media outlets in Australia, with the rise of publications like The Guardian, Crikey and New Matilda as opposed to the traditional newspapers.
We’ll stretch the funds to cover the first two issues, and hopefully we’ll have a little left over for marketing. But a donation buys you the magazine, so essentially it’s like a pre-order. A pre-order with free mugs.
Once the magazine is released in November, where will people be able to buy it/subscribe to it?
Subscriptions will be available through archermagazine.com.au
The mag will be available online or at independent bookshops and Mag Nation.
Will an online/app version of the magazine also be available?
Some articles will be posted online down the track. We haven’t considered an app yet.