Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
It's great that VegNews finally apologized, but the larger issue is that the mag isn't relevant to many of us. Someone on FB suggested a vegan literary mag (I think it was Marla Rose-vegan feminist agitator) and a couple of us have been chatting about it. Obviously we wouldn't do what has already been done, the way it's been done, as that wouldn't lead to success in 2011. Maybe an app and a print mag and an online hub. Who knows?
MagCloud and other services allow gorgeous production in a print on demand model, which is important as I for one don't need one more sheet of paper in my house. But if it's more of a McSweeney's type work of art (who aren't doing well, btw), that's a different story. It has to be relevant for vegan education so you'd pass it on.
Then there's the reality that there are existing sites and mags that are undersupported and not everyone knows about them. Maybe they could cater to some reader demand in some way.
What are your thoughts about a more realistic lifestyle mag or a literary mag or a hybrid or . . . anything else related. The intention is to determine whether there is a legitimate need to be filled--that people would pay for if it's print--or whether the opportunity arose to highlight the faults of VegNews but we don't need another publication.
I was speaking with a friend about this today. We've just recently lost Vegan Voice here, and now this. It's really disappointing. I thought Vegan Voice was a great magazine.
There is some talk about starting a new vegan magazine here in Australia, but other than talk, not much more has really transpired.
I think there's a huge audience out there, I'm just not sure what type of publication they want.
I'm kind of on the fence on this one. I know that there would be a market for it, but I'm not sure that getting all the contributions together, the sponsorships, etc etc would be an easy task. For one thing, people can be flaky. I'm sure Carolyn can tell you that getting people to actually send their crap in can be herculean. Aside from that, unless there's a crazed person at the eye of the storm, who can keep schedules, deadlines, and all kinds of other annoyances in balance, it can quickly devolve into a talk-fest where nothing gets done, and everyone just keeps talking. In that spirit, let me shut my big fat yap, and lay out a bit of a plan.
You'll need at least one person who's the point person for submissions. Again, creative types can be flaky as hell (and being a creative type, I speak from my own experience of my own flakiness at times), so that person will need to be firm but not a jerk in getting the submissions done.
You'll want one person who's really good at web design and a separate one who's excellent at typographical design. If you're doing both an online and print component, it's important to trust the web people to do what they best, and the print person to do what they do best. The two mediums have different needs, and you don't want to bog one person down with too much work. Again, I speak from experience when I say that when putting on different hats (web to print to hand written), it can be challenging.
If you can find them, you'll want artists, photographers, and other such folk to give your publication that polished look. We're visual creatures, and sometimes a picture is as strong as the words that they boost.
You'll want a team of at least four people who are excellent copy editors/proof readers. The copy editors would be responsible to have all the copy that goes into the magazine follow a consistent style. The proofreaders make sure that the language all sounds right. I've seen way too many publications lose respect because there was sloppy copy.
You'll want a large team of cheerleaders. These are your folks who strongly believe in what you're doing, and are happy to promote it. The more, the merrier.
You'll want someone who's comfortable with reaching out to other organisations, to get their support or content, as appropriate.
Finally, you'll want a core of like five or six regular contributors, to fill the thing out. There are bound to be times when stuff goes south, and you need more heft in that month's publication, so you call on your contributors to write a bit more than usual, and you're set. These would also be people who are responsible to blog every X days, depending on what your schedules permit. If your audience is engaged, they're more likely to stay with you.
I bet if you put the call out there, and have specific roles that you need filled, and an outline of what you're looking for, you'll have eager volunteers of all shapes and sizes.
I'm no stranger to this position (eye of the storm), HOWEVER, usually it's for a project where everyone gets some kind of compensation. So they have incentive to do their jobs.
I've tried one project with multiple contributors (all volunteers), and it fell apart pretty quickly.
I like the model you suggest, and I've been thinking of a zine and making it gorgeous. Our community has such amazing artists, including photographers, and to create a meaningful work of art and advocacy would be a dream job!
That's the point though, Mary! It only works if you've got a nice structure going, with multiple redundancies (more than one proofreader, multiple regular contributors, etc), and split the tasks according to what people are comfortable doing. I wouldn't volunteer for the social media crap, because I hate twitter and facebook and all that rot. I know some who've got appalling writing skills, whom I wouldn't trust to proofread even if they paid me. But people will come through if you've got enough of a base to work from.
I've seen these things fall apart at the seams, because there were problems with the organisers fucking off, because there were no strong organisers, or because nobody knew about it, so it never got much distribution. It is possible, however, to get it out there, once the infrastructure is in place.
At this point, any general interest vegan magazine that isn't pulling stupid human tricks would be nice.
We have a brand new vegan magazine which is about to be released on World Vegan Day, here in Sydney. It's being created by the Vegan Society of NSW, which is soon to be Vegan Australia, and I have to admit, I'm very excited about it.
We're going to be giving away some copies of the first edition in ARZone soon.
You can see a bit about it here: