A Michael Pollan-esque summation of the business model for PQ Monthly, the new monthly LGBTQ magazine debuting in mid-February, might be: mostly online, some print, engage readers.
Publisher Melanie Davis, also the publisher of Portland-based El Hispanic News, is confident that PQ will succeed despite a dismal publishing climate and the recent shuttering of Just Out, the bi-monthly newspaper that served the Portland metro area’s LGBTQ community for 26 years.
Unlike Just Out, which only served the metropolitan area, PQ Monthly will cover news in all parts of Oregon and SW Washington, creating a wider market of readers and advertisers. Davis says the decision to publish monthly and have most of the print publication’s content originating on the website will keep print costs reasonable. “It will be very feature driven, timely and modern in its approach to the delivery of news,” Davis says, who has been with El Hispanic News since 1992.
The publication’s strongest presence will be on the web, where Davis hopes to attract the bulk of advertising from companies interested in reaching out to the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community. “[Advertisers] are continuously trying to reach various target markets,” Davis says. “They recognize that community-based publications serve that need. Print is still king when it comes to niche markets.”
Davis says 12 full-time jobs have already been created. Calling the decision to start a new publication “a very expensive endeavor,” Davis wouldn’t disclose how much of an initial investment was needed to cover start up costs, but said the publication has the support of Brilliant Media, the LLC that owns El Hispanic News, as well as the support of some “venture capitalists” who approached Davis when she was thinking of starting a new LGBTQ publication to replace Just Out.
Some think that Just Out failed not necessarily because there wasn’t financial support for it, but because of bad business practices.
“Unfortunately, it collapsed under an unsustainable business model,” says Jimmy Radosta, Just Out’s former news editor. “Long before the recession, [Just Out’s publisher] Marty Davis struggled to make ends meet. Overhead was too high, and advertising sales goals were unrealistic.” Marty Davis is not related to Melanie Davis.
The first issue is slated for Feb. 16. Davis says the magazines will be free and distributed in news racks and at businesses statewide. She plans an initial press run of 20,000 copies monthly.
Amanda Waldroupe is a contributing writer for Oregon Business.