Friday, January 22, 2010

Devil's Advocate

Nearly two weeks after getting a press e-mail with information about the February 2010 issue of The Advocate, I finally received what I believed was my copy of the mag in the mail today -- only it was actually a copy of Out, with a slender version of The Advocate tucked inside the plastic bag from Here Media.

Along with the magazine(s) was this letter, explaining that The Advocate was no longer available as a "stand-alone print subscription" (my hyphen), so I would now be receiving the "Out Advocate Edition" instead. (I was not a subscriber of Out.) The masthead on the mini-Advocate shows that Jon Barrett is still editor in chief, but many positions have been eliminated, including the managing editor, the associate art director, the associate photo editor, the research editor, the editorial operations coordinator and one of the mag's copy editors -- as demonstrated in red, above (I freelance, guys!).

OK, fine with me. Print media is hurting and publishers are doing what they have to do to survive. We all get it. But isn't this pretty much exactly what Queerty reported in October? And didn't The Advocate immediately turn around and tell me that Queerty "doesn't know what they're talking about," followed by an official statement from Stephen Macias, Here/Regent Media's senior vice president, clearing up the blog's "inaccuracies"? I've met Stephen and think he's terrific. And Jon and I have dozens of mutual friends and he's always been friendly and helpful when I've e-mailed him. So I can't help but wonder what it was about Queerty's report that bothered them so much that they felt it was necessary to lash out against it -- and in the process draw more attention to it -- knowing that it was essentially correct? Are they upset that a blog is filling a role in the gay world that was once their primary responsibility? That current or former employees are talking to bloggers? Or was it just the snarky tone that rubbed them the wrong way? Curiously, a source tells me they were particularly bent out of shape about Queerty referring to the new incarnation of The Advocate as an "insert." Perhaps it's true that no one at Here Media was willing to sit back and allow some bitchy blogger to call the country's oldest and most important gay magazine an "insert" when, in fact, it's actually nothing of the sort. As the cover clearly states, it's now a supplement.

Sadly, this has Out Traveler written all over it.


Jim said...

I'm kinda not happy about this either. We got ours the other day and the bf and I both do not like the format of OUT. Guess I won't be renewing that subscription. :(

Kent Allard said...

Should "customer service" in the letter also have been hyphenated as a compound adjective?

Anonymous said...

TonkaManOR: why? aren't you still getting the Advocate? They are just doing what they need to keep the book alive.

Anonymous said...

The Advocate will be gone by the end of the year.

Anonymous said...

My guess is... What "we" don't see as subscribers is that, while the printed Advocate is now reduced to an insert, erm, supplement... The online Advocate seems to be getting better and better.

Will blogs take over the role that The Advocate once held? Um -- if they start creating their OWN content, perhaps. Otherwise, they will continue to rely on sites like to get the beefy stories.

For those of you disgruntled by the changes with the print Advocate, I'm with you. I think it's sad. I subscribed to The Advocate intentionally over OUT. I don't like OUT and do not want it.

Instead of being pissed off, though, I'm supporting The Advocate by visiting their as much as possible. I do not want this historic title to die entirely. We should all support The Advocate as a piece of our collective history.

Billy LaPoint

Joe B. in CT said...

OUT is for post teens and young twinks. The Advocate was so much more substantial. They appear to have turned The Advocate into a promotional vehicle for Here-sponsored movies. It is all very sad. I too will not renew.

Johnny Diaz said...

I love how you copy edit off-the-clock. I tend to do the same when I read another publication and then find myself suddenly adding hypens, commas, etc.

Greg said...

What's even sadder is haven't paid their freelance contributors in months. I'm still waiting on payment for a job I did for them last May.