Interview with ,Managing Editor Eboné Bell
by Joe Siegel
Geographic coverage area: Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and Delaware
Year founded: 2012 (the magazine celebrated its second anniversary with its September/October 2014 issue)
Staff size and breakdown [writers, sales reps., etc.]: 1 managing editor, 3 photographers, 2 graphic designers and 10 writers (not staff, contractors)
Physical dimensions of publication: 8.5” x 11”
Average page count: 32-40
Key demographics: Metro D.C.‘s lesbian community
Print run: 7,000+
PPQ: Who came up with the name Tagg?
Managing Editor Eboné Bell: I came up with the name. I wanted a name that meant “connecting” and “linking” the queer women’s community. In the game, when you tag someone, you have to reach out and touch them. Tagg seemed like the perfect name. Tagg, you’re it!
PPQ: What challenge has your publication had to overcome over the past few years?
Bell: Getting through that first year. They say most businesses fail within the first one to two years. It was a big challenge to make sure we didn’t become another statistic. It was important to continue to get the word out and try to grow the publication. The first year was very scary, but we got through it and continue to grow.
PPQ: What challenges are you facing right now?
Bell: We are a small business with a small staff. So now that we are growing, some of the tasks are a little more tedious and time consuming. We are now looking at bringing in more help to resolve this challenge. It’s a good problem to have though.
PPQ: How has your publication changed since it was first launched?
Bell: The look of the actual print publication changed significantly. We went from a small (8-12 page) magazine to a thick full glossy (32-40 page) publication.
PPQ: Do you see yourself as an “activist journalist”? If so, in what way?
Bell: Yes and no. We are definitely more of a lifestyle magazine, which means we don’t have a huge focus on news and politics. However, we still cover important political topics like marriage equality. But as a publication dedicated to the lesbian and queer community in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware, I think unconsciously we have become somewhat of an activist publication, representing a niche that is often forgotten in mainstream media and our local LGBT publications.
PPQ: What’s the most surprising feedback you’ve received from a reader?
Bell: “We got our copy of this month’s Tagg in the mail yesterday. I wanted to send you a quick note to say, WOW. Tagg is truly an insightful and totally gorgeous magazine. I read every single article when I got home from work yesterday. You’ve created something that was totally missing from the community.” — M. Novinskie, Tagg Subscriber
PPQ: What is the biggest story Tagg has reported in the last few years?
PPQ: What advice do you have for others working in LGBT media?
Bell: As long you continue to have a passion for the LGBTQ community, our causes and stories, there will always be a place for LGBTQ media.