Thursday, November 16, 2017

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Windy City Times of Chicago

Interview with Co-Founder and Publisher Tracy Baim
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: Chicago and nearby suburbs

Year founded: 1985

Physical dimensions of publication: 10” x 10” is final artwork size, 10.5” x 10.5” is paper size

Average page count: 32

Print run: 9,000-10,000 weekly

Web site: www.windycitymediagroup.com

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PPQ: What feature or features of Windy City Times have been the most popular with readers?

Baim: Anything local is certainly what distinguishes us, as we are the only LGBTQ newspaper in the area.

PPQ: Who came up with the name and what is the inspiration for it? 

Baim: Jeff McCourt, one of the co-founders, wanted a name that sounded sophisticated and was not specifically gay. It was competing against GayLife, which many of us left to co-found Windy City Times. 

PPQ: What challenge has your publication had to overcome since its inception? 

Baim: Economics and financial stability are always the most difficult issues.

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Windy City Times facing now?

Baim: The advertising business is being co-opted by social media sites and Google, so it is difficult for small regional media to survive against multi-billion dollar tech companies.

PPQ: How has Windy City Times changed since it was first launched? 

Baim: Digital is probably the biggest change. It allows us to break stories everyday, and store our complete set of articles, and bonus online articles, so that stories have a larger and longer-term impact.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make? 

Baim: Having more advertising so we can have more editorial staff.

PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories Windy City Times has covered?

Baim: There are many ongoing topics we cover, including HIV/AIDS and political issues, in every edition of the paper. So I think our consistency with covering these ongoing stories is what sets us apart from the mainstream, which dips into these LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS issues only periodically.

PPQ: On the Kinsey Scale of 0-6 (exclusively straight to totally gay), how gay is your publication?

Baim: 5.5. We do cover a lot of social justice mainstream issues and lots of non-LGBTQ entertainment.

PPQ: Do you see yourself as an 'activist journalist'? If so, in what way? 

Baim: People would see me that way, but I consider myself a journalist who is pro-LGBTQ equality, and for many that makes me an activist.

PPQ: What's the most surprising feedback you've received from a reader? 

Baim: I love hearing from readers who are now in their 40s and 50s or older, who say that back in the 1980s and 1990s, Windy City Times and my other papers I have had — Outlines, BLACKLines, En La Vida — had a profound impact on their life, in making them feel connected to the community.

PPQ: What advice would you give to anyone who may want to launch their own GLBT publication?

Baim: In 2017, I would not suggest a print publication. There are so many opportunities online, at much lower risk and cost.

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 19
Issue 8

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