For Reno’s gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community, the main source of GLBT news for the past eight years has been the Reno Informer, a monthly newspaper.
But last month, a new publication hit the stands: the Reno Tahoe Outlands. With its full-color cover, which features newly crowned Silver Dollar Court Emperor Paul Anthony and Empress Trixxxy, and its larger size (at 28 pages), it looks like the Reno Informer has a bit of competition.
Editor Dennis Little says the RTO distributed 8,000 copies in the Reno-Tahoe area in July, plus another 2,000 in Arizona, California, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Compare that to the Reno Informer’s smaller page count and 5,000-copy circulation.
So, is there a newspaper war brewing?
Little, who once wrote a column for the Reno Informer, admits that there may be some competition, but he feels the RTO is just filling a gap in local media. He says the RTO is a “community service magazine” as opposed to a newspaper. (Another GLBT news source is SierraVoice.com, which is independent from these publications).
He said whereas Reno Informer columnist Lupe writes about the GLBT club scene and national gay/lesbian issues, RTO hopes to keep its focus on what local GLBT organizations around the area are doing.
“We’re mainly local, local and more local,” Little said.
Reno Informer founder Lupe, who declined to reveal his real name, said he’s concerned about the new publication, but for now, he’s taking a wait-and-see approach.
“Well, yeah, it’s competition,” he said. “They have more resources than I had when I started.”
When you consider that Lupe has been a one-man operation since starting the Reno Informer in 1993, you can understand where he’s coming from. Each month, he edits and lays out the paper, as well as reports on the goings-on in the community in his column, Ask Lupe. He even sells advertisements, unlike at bigger newspapers, which separate editorial and advertising departments.
RTO, however, has three staffers: Little, marketing director Robert Washburn and art director Mike Stombaugh.
Although RTO is trying to reach an audience outside of Reno, Lupe said he doesn’t have any desire to distribute out of state. After all, he said, the Reno Informer Web site can reach plenty of people outside of the area. (The RTO is also planning to launch a Web site, according to Washburn.) Lupe said he feels his publication’s strength lies in his experience and his visibility in the GLBT community. Plus, he said, he’s covered a lot of news and issues in the community in his eight years.
“I don’t think there’s a lot of stuff that they can do that I haven’t already,” he said.
Although he worries about RTO’s impact on the Reno Informer, Lupe said he has lost only one advertiser so far to RTO. He said most businesses that advertise with his paper intend to continue doing so.
Little said RTO is still learning the ropes of the business. So far, the feedback on RTO’s debut issue has been positive, he said.
Both publications’ August issues will center on the Reno Gay Pride Celebration, Aug. 17-19. The Reno Informer hits the streets on the first day of each month. The latest issue of RTO should hit the streets by Aug. 2. You can find both publications at local gay/lesbian bars and GLBT-friendly businesses.