With a never-ending list of student publications on campus, Emerson boasts magazines ranging from fashion to film to literature. However, junior journalism majors Frankie Olito and Jaclyn Diaz, both former Beacon staff members, have found a topic yet to be explored, which led them to create VENT, Emerson’s first LGBT lifestyle magazine.
“VENT is not just a fluff magazine,” said Olito, who will be the editor-in-chief. “It’s not just like ‘We’re gay, we’re excited.’ … It’s a mixture of light, fluffy stories with hard-hitting news.”
VENT, which is planned to formally launch in December, will focus on a variety of topics such as news, art, music and fashion, according to Diaz, who will be the managing editor. The news section, she said, will highlight local, national, and international news directly related to the LGBT community, such as the Defense of Marriage Act. Likewise, the arts section, Diaz said, will cover television, movies, music, books, and theatre, specifically Boston-based topics.
Staff positions for the publication include editors for the various sections, a marketing team, photographers, a film crew, models, stylists, a design team, and copy editors, according to Diaz. Once the staff is formalized, she said, the group will meet once a week.
According to Olito and Diaz, the magazine’s content will be posted solely online until the first print publication, for which an exact date has not yet been determined. Diaz said that she and Olito plan to publish web content on a regular basis but will have separate articles for the print versions. Diaz said they are still in the process of selecting staff members and have been working on promotional videos and advertisements. The promo videos, which she said will be released in October and run through December, will explain the concept of the magazine.
Olito said he found it odd that no publication on campus was devoted or catered to the LGBT community, despite Emerson being rated the number one school for LGBT friendliness by The Princeton Review. Olito said he identifies as gay and Diaz identifies as straight. He said the main purpose of VENT will be to give the LGBT community a spotlight and a voice. However, both Diaz and Olito said they hope writers and readers who don’t identify as LGBT will be interested in the content.
Darian Carpenter, a junior visual and media arts major, said he thinks the magazine will fill a void left by the current collection of elite publications on campus, such as Your Magazine and Atlas.
“It is kind of the missing piece when it comes to the publishing and magazine culture at Emerson,” he said.
Malcolm Meyer, vice president of Emerson’s Alliance for Gays, Lesbians, and Everyone (EAGLE) and a former Beacon staffer, said he hopes to be a columnist for a section on queer dating. The junior journalism major also said he is excited for VENT to take its place among the on-campus organizations and to focus on something missing in magazine publishing.
“The queer community gets singled out [a lot],” he said. “Pop culture magazines aren’t geared towards the gay community.”
Eventually, both Diaz and Olito say they hope to become recognized by the Student Government Association. The duo said they are currently planning to generate revenue by working with advertisers.
Alexandra Fileccia, a junior journalism major, said she thinks VENT not only fills a vital niche at Emerson but also has the unique LGBT focus that is not typically recognized, even in magazines beyond the campus.
“It’s important to talk about and spread LGBT news,” Fileccia said, “especially at Emerson where there is a large LGBT population.”