Sit Down and Chat with Colin and Colin from #Boom Magazine
In 2014, Colin Lovett and Colin Murphy decided to combine their experience in journalism with their passion for the LGBT community by starting an online publication, #Boom Magazine. Their mission is, “to provide a LGBT media suite serving the St. Louis Metro and surrounding areas, with a focus on community and their perspectives on national, regional and local stories.”
Lovett and Murphy are both Co-Owners of the publication. In addition, Lovett serves as the publisher and Murphy as the editor-in-chief. The publication is small, with Murphy and Lovett being the faces associated with the publication and much of the content is produced by them.
To be successful, they urge the use of social media. “Prior to having #Boom we had both built up a decent sized social media following within the LGBT community,” said Colin Lovett. “I think that absolutely helped in why #Boom has been able to be so successful.”
“Our social media accounts, the personal ones, are very much driven to pushing out what we’re passionate about, which is LGBT activism, and we also push the brand,” added Colin Murphy. “We would not be able to reach the audience we have without it.”
Murphy went on to say that, “We’re finding that a lot of our readers are interacting with us through social media.”
He recalls, “Once upon a time it used to be, you had to be out in public to interact with your readers, now it’s on a daily basis online.”
In reference to the brand, both Colins agree that a unique brand is crucial.
“Branding, especially in LGBT media, you find you’re not only branding the company, but you are branding yourselves as owners of the company because you are representatives for that company,” said Murphy.
Colin Lovett adds that, “because the product that we sell is information and news, you have to put a person and face behind it.”
Murphy continued, “You have to dedicate equal attention to pushing the corporate #Boom branding in addition to growing our own personal branding, so we maintain them simultaneously.”
In the Digital Newsroom we have discussed various ways to come across stories. #Boom relies a lot on community in addition to old school techniques.
“We’re only as good as the community that keeps us informed,” Murphy says is a phrase he keeps in mind every day.
“We cannot be everywhere, we’re not going to know everything, so we’re always out cultivating sources and interacting with the community and asking questions.”
In terms of creating multi-media stories, #Boom understands how important it is to include hyperlinks, photos, videos, etc.
“We’re very cognizant that we have to have artwork that will draw you to the story. We’re increasingly using more video and incorporating video coverage; I think that’s the way of the future,” Murphy predicts.
“One of the things I’ve learned in one of my previous jobs is how to package things, how to make a story look pretty. You could have the most well written story on the planet, but if it’s not appealing visually, nobody’s going to read it,” he continued.
To end our meeting, I inquired about any tips or advice they might have for someone pursuing a career in online journalism.
“My advice,” offers Murphy, “is that you really have to want to do this. You have to have a love for media, your community, the community you cover, and you have to realize that it’s a 24/7 job sometimes. It takes a special type of person and a special type of family to support that person.”
Murphy also contests the misconception that online journalism can happen completely from home. It is quite the opposite, in fact. Murphy said that, “a lot of it is getting out and going to events and being visibly present.”
“Relationship building too,” adds Colin Lovett, “I think that’s really one of the things that has afforded us the ability to survive as long as we have. It’s not just about re-posting shit you see on Facebook. We know these people, they have a relationship with us, they know when there is something to get out there.”
“They have to trust us too,” Lovett continues, “In order to really get the real stories, you’ve gotta have a sense of trust in the community.”
As a final thought, Colin Lovett said,
“It’s as much about being able to get out there and write and shoot photos and shoot video as it is being able to build relationships with people.”
Colin and Colin of #Boom Magazine have the experience and networking to maintain, what appears to be, a successful system in reporting the news. With a focus on the niche of the LGBT community, they have realized how to best find and report the news about their community. Using social media, personal branding, and hard work, these two men have been able to successfully launch and promote their own online publication. In the 2 years that #Boom Magazine has been around, Colin and Colin have been able to create a brand that people not only know, but trust, and that is the beauty of online journalism.