Interview with Co-Founder and Publisher Tracy Baim
by Joe Siegel
Geographic coverage area: Chicago and nearby suburbs
Year founded: 1985
Physical dimensions of publication: 10” x 10” is final artwork size, 10.5” x 10.5” is paper size
Average page count: 32
PPQ: What feature or features of Windy City Times have been the most popular with readers?
Baim: Anything local is certainly what distinguishes us, as we are the only LGBTQ newspaper in the area.
PPQ: Who came up with the name and what is the inspiration for it?
Baim: Jeff McCourt, one of the co-founders, wanted a name that sounded sophisticated and was not specifically gay. It was competing against GayLife, which many of us left to co-found Windy City Times.
PPQ: What challenge has your publication had to overcome since its inception?
Baim: Economics and financial stability are always the most difficult issues.
PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Windy City Times facing now?
Baim: The advertising business is being co-opted by social media sites and Google, so it is difficult for small regional media to survive against multi-billion dollar tech companies.
PPQ: How has Windy City Times changed since it was first launched?
Baim: Digital is probably the biggest change. It allows us to break stories everyday, and store our complete set of articles, and bonus online articles, so that stories have a larger and longer-term impact.
PPQ: What one change would you like to make?
Baim: Having more advertising so we can have more editorial staff.
PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories Windy City Times has covered?
Baim: There are many ongoing topics we cover, including HIV/AIDS and political issues, in every edition of the paper. So I think our consistency with covering these ongoing stories is what sets us apart from the mainstream, which dips into these LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS issues only periodically.
PPQ: On the Kinsey Scale of 0-6 (exclusively straight to totally gay), how gay is your publication?
Baim: 5.5. We do cover a lot of social justice mainstream issues and lots of non-LGBTQ entertainment.
PPQ: Do you see yourself as an ‘activist journalist’? If so, in what way?
Baim: People would see me that way, but I consider myself a journalist who is pro-LGBTQ equality, and for many that makes me an activist.
PPQ: What’s the most surprising feedback you’ve received from a reader?
Baim: I love hearing from readers who are now in their 40s and 50s or older, who say that back in the 1980s and 1990s, Windy City Times and my other papers I have had — Outlines, BLACKLines, En La Vida — had a profound impact on their life, in making them feel connected to the community.
PPQ: What advice would you give to anyone who may want to launch their own GLBT publication?
Baim: In 2017, I would not suggest a print publication. There are so many opportunities online, at much lower risk and cost.