Friday, January 04, 2008

Update: ZERO magazine's global ambitions

Catching up: Back in September I took notice of an EFE news service article that revealed that Spain's premiere gay news magazine- ZERO - was considering a purchase bid from an unnamed North American-based organization as it looked to expand distribution globally and, specifically, into Latin American markets.

No announcement has been made as far as I am aware but during a visit to Buenos Aires in November the magazine's editor - Miguel Angel Lopez - sat down for an in-depth interview with Argentina's Pagina/12.

Calling ZERO "the most important gay medium in the Spanish language," Pagina/12 spoke to Lopez about the magazine's editorial role in securing passage of Spain's same-sex marriage law, of the way that several personalities have used the magazine's cover to come out of the closet and of the use of nudity as a selling point as well as as a form of activism (including three different editions of the magazine in which the full editorial staff has appeared posing in the nude).

While he acknowledges that Out magazine was the original prototype, he says that ZERO was able to create its own path and merge entertainment with activism. Out magazine, he says "never reached a situation in which it was anywhere near to achieving something in political terms; they allowed themselves to be carried away by commercial interests, beyond activism."

Lopez also says that the magazine has never outed anyone and that editorially it has always opposed the practice which Pagina/12 says is prevalent in the United States.

In a side note, Lopez talks about some of the local Argentinian gay magazines he has seen during the trip and says that there are "certain resistances" on the part of local editorial teams that should be eliminated: "There is no need to always feature the models that we all like so much, nor for a lack of equilibrium between [coverage of] life styles and politics; the magazine can obtain a level of credibility and a consciousness that can defeat a resistance that makes one think that there won't be any advertisers."

Asked if ZERO plans an Argentinian version of the magazine, Lopez responds: "We are working on a project for 2009, so that the magazine will have an international edition in various Latin American countries, but nothing has been decided as to where the offices will be situated. It is a possibility that has been blocked to this date, but I acquired 100% of the [publishing] partnership, and there are a series of investors that want us to get together with some Latin American media. There have been a lot of rumors, but we want to find the proper partners. We are a Spanish-language business and we would like to reach the largest possible public in that language."

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