Gay newspaper to change its lifestyle

THE Pink Paper, the only national weekly gay newspaper, is having a facelift to transform it from worthy political campaigner to trendy all-round magazine. But before the new-look mag has even hit the streets, the change is causing controversy.

Its owner, Kelvin Sollis, decided that 10 years of losses were enough: it was time to go commercial. But the decision has hit some of the oldest readers hard - they think it is deserting its serious political agenda.

David Northmore, a Pink Paper journalist, believes gay politics had overtaken the paper's agenda. "In the beginning we were coming from the perspective of a gay community on the outside of society screaming to be let in. Now we are practically part of the mainstream, and the paper needs to reflect that."

The problem was, says David Bridle, the paper's general manager, that young readers were turning their backs on it. He knew something was wrong when gay men and lesbians stopped using its lonely hearts phone lines.

The new Pink Paper will still carry hard-core gay news. But it will have a definite shift towards lighter, more popular features and lifestyle items.

Also, David Bridle says, it needs to win back lesbian readers. The paper had catered too much for the young men so valued by advertisers, he says, and now needs to redress that bias.

But the Pink Paper's transformation has not come about without a fierce internal fight. Tim Teeman, the former editor, left the magazine after a falling out. At a leaving presentation he said that he had been treated as "beneath contempt", and was promptly escorted from the building.

Mr Bridle, who is responsible for balancing the books, says: "Teeman had a huge amount of independence and did a very good job. But he didn't want to sit down with the advertising department and the publisher and make sure the paper survived, to ask how the editorial content can bring in wider advertising."

Mr Teeman is concerned that the paper might now lose its "sophisticated" coverage of news and political issues, that it will go the way of the monthlies, which "believe that politics is a dirty word," and whose news coverage he calls "appalling".

The comments reflect the way the gay publishing market has developed in recent years. Gay clubs and bars are full of free magazines that concentrate on the gay scene. Others, such as the Pink Paper's sister paper, Boyz, and the relative newcomer Attitude, have a strong emphasis on celebrity interviews, fashion and lifestyle.

Boyz recently carried a cover of Lorraine Kelly, the GMTV presenter, and newly established gay icon, and a feature on Dame Edna Everage.

Boyz, which has until now subsidised the Pink Paper, says that some rivals in the market have made much of gay politics into a cult of victimhood. Colin Richardson, the deputy editor of Gay Times, rejects the notion that discriminatory laws and attitudes persist. "It's an accusation bandied about by people who have abandoned political campaigns," he says.

The debate between the serious and frivolous ends of the gay mag market has a powerful echo in the United States. America's largest gay magazine, Out, has just imported James Collard, a former editor of Attitude, to turn it into a more commercial product.

The controversy is just like that at the Pink Paper.

Mr Collard is praised by those who believe he is in touch with a younger, less agonised gay community. His detractors, in the meantime, accuse him of dumbing down and selling out.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions