In November, 2009, I wrote the original transparency pages, which outlined a publishing model that could result in a fiscally solvent online Chicago art magazine, with a paid staff. I created a countdown timer, which threatened that if we didn’t “make it” in 10 months, 20 days, 5 hours, 15 minutes and 46 seconds, we could shut down the site (on 10/10/10).
Now , with 7 months, 3 days, 10 hours, 55 minutes, and 53 seconds left to spare (as of this writing on 3/3/10), that page has been archived, as we are now financially stable. The goal isn’t to make a profit in 2010, but to not lose money as we grow the network of websites, improve the quality of the magazine and increase the pay for the staff.
So in a nutshell, the ticking clock of can-we-make-it has been silenced, and now it’s about documenting how we do things behind the scenes, outlining our goals and progress, and allowing anyone and everyone to ride along with our day-to-day website publishing madness.
The hope is that these pages can be a blueprint for the next magazine starting out, so that they may have an easier go of it, avoid some of our mistakes, and ultimately kick our butts. Maybe if we make it, the next group will be more likely to get a bank loan, or sponsors before launch.
The more arts and culture publishing there is in Chicago, the stronger our infrastructure becomes, and it ultimately creates a better environment for our artists and our audience.
Everything that follows is just my point of view. I’m not critical of anyone else’s efforts, even those that print on paper. I’m just stating an opinion based what has worked, not worked, and what we’ve worked around. It’s obviously not the only view to be had.