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A NEW ADVOCATE: Venerable gay-oriented magazine The Advocate is about to get a facelift under new editor Jon Barrett and new ownership. It’s going from biweekly to monthly, changing the paper stock and retooling the content to focus on longer-form stories. At Barrett’s side for the relaunch is Amy Goldwasser, a freelance editor who had recent stints at Elle and Vogue, among others.
The Advocate, whose circulation was about 180,000 in the first half of this year, has traditionally been the more politically oriented title to Out’s fashion leanings. Last month, both were acquired by Regent Media, which also has Web, TV and film production holdings. Barrett previously worked at the magazine as well as at O at Home; O, the Oprah Magazine; Cargo, and Real Simple.
Switching to monthly frequency, he said, was an attempt to stay relevant in a media landscape that includes both popular gay-aimed blogs and gay issues being covered in the general audience press. “We need to go into the issues more deeply than anybody else, more thoughtfully than anybody else,” he said.
At the same time, the Advocate will expand its Web site, having hired its first Web editor and contracted broadcast journalist James Hattori to appear in Web video dispatches, starting at the political conventions. Goldwasser said the title is recruiting writers from general interest magazines, and the goal is to compete with other monthly magazines in the realms of news, travel, health and fitness and even fashion features, though the Advocate isn’t going to have well fashion editorial.
“In a way, a gay magazine audience is a dream magazine audience. It’s sophisticated and wry,” Goldwasser said. And, she added, unlike other magazines, there’s no need to be coy about areas of coverage like health and beauty for fear of alienating straight readers: “We don’t have to say, ‘Look at my airplane and my deodorant that’s shaped like a truck.’”
— Irin Carmon