Years in print:
Room For Two Gay Papers, Publisher Says
After a difficult birth, Viewpoint Magazine, a new publication serving the gay community, is looking ahead to a healthy infancy.
“I’m the sixth editor in fourteen issues,” said Thomas Long. “Ive made a commitment to stabilizing the magazine. It’s my full-time job.”
Long was a cable TV producer before signing on at Viewpoint. He also wrote for No Bad News, another gay paper, which folded in 1985.
Along with publisher Jerry Carwile who doubles as the publication’s ad salesman and a part-time art director, Long is trying to define the character and scope of the bi-weekly magazine.
“We had all these departments and no one knew exactly what they were,” he said. “I’m giving the magazine focus.” For example, a forthcoming issue will feature a series on AIDS.
Viewpoint also contains a directory listing bars, professional services, hair salons, hotlines and religious organizations. The “’Bout Town” page highlights St. Louis music, theater and film.
“As we branch out to other cities we’ll have to rework the directory and calendar sections,” explained Long. Viewpoint already is distributed in Kansas City, Columbia, and Springfield, Ill. Long and Carwile plan to move into Indianapolis, Memphis and Nashville sometime next year.
Meanwhile, other departments are also being re-evaluated. “We’re still thinking about the horoscope,” said Long. “Our readers’ poll indicated that half want it and half do not.”
The personals department won the popularity poll. “We started with one page of personals, now we have four,” said Long.
Viewpoint has grown from 48 to 68 pages since the first issue appeared in September 1986. The magazine prints 7,500 copies of each issue.
“My hope is that we can branch away from primarily gay issues,” said Long. “At the same time, we’re really not interested in broadening our audience. The magazine was founded with the idea of serving the gay community. They’re loyal to us and we’re loyal to them,” he said.
Long believes that there is room for two gay papers in St. Louis. “Viewpoint and the Gay News Telegraph are as different as night and day,” he explained. “They are news oriented while we emphasize opinion, essays, and interviews. We serve different functions. And we’re both needed.”
(Originally published in the St. Louis Journalism Review 6/1987).