Hicklin takes a different approach to his title, for whom our editor has written. When he just started “out” last year, British born Hicklin told Women’s Wear Daily that he’s more interested in content than clothing. He wanted gay readers to have quality, “sophisticated” editorial. We recently asked Hicklin to whom he writes, that his, to whom he gears the gay glossy. His reply:
I’m generally allergic to reader profiling which is more useful for advertisers than editors. I firmly believe a good editor trusts his or her instincts, and my instincts are not to shy away from density, articles of length and depth that challenge the common perception that gay magazines are style over substance. That doesn’t mean that we don’t care about presentation – we care about it deeply – but I want to give my readers compelling, ideas-driven stories that take a certain investment on their part.
Hicklin points out that two of those stories, both by Michael Joseph Gross, won first and second place for feature writing at the NLGJA Excellence in Journalism awards. Hicklin goes on to say, “Part of the mission of a gay magazine is to give readers a sense of their social and cultural history.”
Boulton’s less interested in looking at the bigger critical picture. He prefers to what he refers to as the “pay-off”. Emphasizing his high content/page ratio – “Five items at the max, three at the low” – Boulton claims magazines should lead to a certain, consumptive end.
Magazines need to have pay off, more than intellectual pay off… This magazine benefits to the reader in some very clear, physical way. You learned about that watch, you bought it. You bought this there. You matched those two things, your abs are better now, you’re drinking better things. Whatever it is, there’s this physical payoff.
It’s clear to us that to Boulton, who’s made a career of relaunching magazines, magazines are a business. Such a perspective may not please certain editors, but it makes him a perfect asset for Genre‘s financially strained publisher, Window Media. No wonder Windows’ head honcho David Unger accepted Boulton’s uninvited bid to boot Chris Ciompi. What, however, motivated Boulton’s move? “I felt like, “you know, the gay community just doesn’t have a magazine”. Naturally, we highlighted the pink, Out elephant.
Boulton quickly corrected himself and lauded Out, but also threw in a dash of competitive criticism:
To me, Out is not broad enough or it doesn’t seem like it’s a gay enough magazine. I know that it’s contradictory, but it doesn’t seem like a gay magazine to me. There’s a difference between a gay magazine with a broad interest versus a broad magazine that’s slightly gay. This is a very gay magazine with a very broad interest.
Boulton’s editorial “vision” seems to see gays as a commodity, not communities. The 40-year old’s more interested in selling items than ideas. He admits:
This magazine doesn’t have too much “inside gay” editorial, because there is nothing inside about being gay anymore. Everything is acceptable now, but there is a time and place for a magazine that steps up and starts to compete with the Esquires and GQ and the Details. I’m not competing with Out. Out is Out. …We’re not competing with Out.
Though some may not appreciate extensive looks at gay cultures, Hicklin’s notably proud of his magazine’s heftier pieces. He tells us:
These are pieces that can only belong in a gay magazine like ours, one that nurtures an esoteric, quirky, and thoughtful voice. The other word for that, of course, is soul, and I feel strongly that magazines without soul get found out sooner or later.