Interview with Publisher Tim Nedoba
by Joe Siegel
Geographic coverage area: Iowa City and the University of Iowa, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines
Year founded: 2016
Staff size and breakdown: One publisher/editor (who also does layout, distribution and ad sales) and six writers
PPQ: Who came up with the name and what is the inspiration for it?
Publisher Tim Nedoba: There were two reasons for starting GoGuide. One was the then-executive director of One Iowa, Donna Red Wing. At the time, the state of Iowa had no publications for the LGBTQIA people of Iowa, and she strongly supported the idea that a magazine was needed in eastern Iowa. Two was my personal feeling of unfinished work at the now-defunct Chicago Free Press.
PPQ: What challenges has GoGuide had to overcome since its inception?
Nedoba: The big problem has been to build name recognition and to produce both a quality magazine and a quality website. We’re still working on both, but we’ve been able to make a lot of progress in building relationships. Right now, the website is our big focus. Working with our design partners AIT Inc., we’re upgrading almost weekly. I’m really proud of the work they’re doing and I’m excited about the potential of the site. The print product and the website are really two different entities. They work in partnership with each other but neither is the identical twin of the other.
PPQ: What challenge is GoGuide facing now?
Nedoba: The biggest challenge has been my own. I had a lot of experience on the publishing/sales/marketing side of the business, but none on the editorial side. That has been our challenge since the inception, learning the editorial side of the company. I’ve had great mentors in my work history. I’ve tried to think in terms of how these past mentors would handle the situation and then apply that to GoGuide.
PPQ: How has the publication changed since it was first launched?
Nedoba: It has evolved from an entertainment-only publication to a news and entertainment publication. For example, our “Guide to the Iowa Caucuses” has been very popular. This series has included one-on-one interviews with several candidates this fall, including most recently Senator Cory Booker and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
PPQ: What one change would you like to make?
Nedoba: Hiring a real editor. Once we grow to the point that it’s possible to pay that person decent wages, hiring an editor will be the next investment.
PPQ: What has been the biggest news story has GoGuide has covered?
Nedoba: It’s the ongoing story, but I believe it will be set in February and throughout the political year, and that’s our coverage of the first openly gay person running for president of the United States.
PPQ: What advice would you give to anyone who may want to launch their own LGBTQ publication?
Nedoba: Go for it. Realize it will take a lot of work and will take a lot of your time, but in the long run, it will be worth the effort. It’s a dream job of a lifetime. There isn’t anything more rewarding than starting your own publication and doing the best you can to serve the local community.