Don’t get me wrong—starting a magazine is hella fun. You get all of the joys of starting your own business, which you can pour your heart and soul and sweat and tears and other bodily fluids into, and on top of that, the subject matter of Qr Magazine means we’re constantly involved and bombarded and surrounded with the never-ending excitement of gay youth. I’m not complaining—making a magazine to celebrate the lives of gay youth, to educate, empower and entertain our readers—there’s nothing quite like it.
However, one of the first things people say when I tell them about Qr is:
What?! A printed magazine? How boring? Why don’t you do something online?!
It’s valid enough question—there’s no denying that we’re all spending more and more time online, consuming more news/music/
pr0n/boyfriends through the online. Hell, I’ve spent a great deal of my adult life building websites. Not to toot my own horn (I haven’t been able to do that since 8th grade), but in addition to being the founder, Publisher and Managing Editor of this fine magazine I’m pretty much an expert at all things internet. I’m well-versed in the social networking phenomenon, the Web 2.0 misnomer, and the exciting developments (and many problems) with providing content to a hungry online audience.
There’s a reason, of course, that an internet boy like me decided to start a print magazine. Nothing can quite replace the luxury of holding a glossy perfect-bound printed magazine in your hands. Flipping through an issue* of Qr is a joyous experience… full-page spreads of cute boys printed to perfection, articles that are easy to scan and skim and absorb, even an intuitive navigation system called “page flipping”.
People point to “popular” online news websites as proof that people would go for an online magazine. I wholeheartedly disagree… popular websites (e.g. New York Times, Slate, Slashdot, Gay.com, Digg) are all article-driven, text-driven “distraction destinations”.
As more and more of us have day jobs or student lives which force us to “work” at the computer all day, we seek 3-minute distractions throughout the work day to take our mind off work. Skimming an article online, or clicking through a few Flickr photos of boys in their undies is not that same as whipping out your (wait for it, wait for it) copy of Qr Magazine. A premium magazine like Qr is portable (you can read it on the bus, on the toilet, while waiting for your friend at a café), it’s high quality (easier to read, better photos, easier to navigate) and permanent.
“Experts” insisted on the demise of the movie-going experience when VCRs came out, and they also insisted books would become obsolete with the advent of the internet (Amazon, anyone?)
Bigshot Editor and closet Qr Magazine reader Graydon Carter agrees, in a recent article from Good Magazine:
Magazines—or, rather, certain magazines—aren’t going away anytime soon. They have survived radio, movies, and television. And they have, so far, not perished at the altar of the internet. It will take something not known of today to replace the power of the combination of words and image when, as I have just said, they are aligned by the right hands. Magazines that tell stories in type and pictures will survive the coming electronic revolutions. Magazines that merely deliver information will have to either become stronger and more vital, or drown in the turbulent wakes of change.
We have some amazing plans for Qr, frankly, both in our print version and with our online strategy. But let me tip my hand now by saying that the print version will be our focus for the next few years, at least. We’re not gonna do a Flash flip-through, we’re not gonna force you to click through a PDF, we’re not gonna push some gimmicky “interactive” version of the mag down your throats. We are building a unique gay community portal, a new way for you to interact with other Qr readers and the oh-so-sexy Qr staff. And, we will have some of our print content available online.
In the very near future, when you subscribe and get this month’s copy of Qr in the mail, when you sneak over to Borders or your college bookstore and our cover model winks at you, when you hold your glossy copy of Qr in your hands you’ll understand.
Keep it Qr,
* I have to apologize again for teasing all of our fans—Qr is still not yet on newsstands. We’re working on it! In the meantime, do enjoy our online preview.