1.5.12 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshotIf you are a regular reader of Watermark, you’ve certainly already noticed that with the new year comes a new look and feel. After hours of planning and researching, our art director Jake Stevens and I have come up with a newly designed, reformatted and (hopefully) more enjoyable way for you to read your hard copy of this news magazine.

And yes, I did call it a news magazine with an emphasis on news.

Since 2012 is a huge presidential election year, now is the perfect time to capitalize on our expanding news coverage and to discuss how current events in our cities, the State of Florida, our country and the world directly affect LGBTs.

We have significantly cut back on our issues this year to allow for more in-depth coverage of stories important to our community. In fact, our new In-Depth section will give us a chance to delve into subjects we may not have had room to cover before, and it will also give us the flexibility to highlight specific subjects of interest.

For nearly two decades 2012 marks our 18th year Watermark has continuously evolved. When publisher Tom Dyer started the publication in 1994, it looked like a newspaper complete with stories and headlines on our cover. Eventually a more magazine-style cover became the norm, and that’s the way we plan on keeping things in the foreseeable future.

But while things may look familiar out front, it’s as they say what’s on the inside that counts.

Many of our favorite features remain news pages, opinion columns, Overheard, Shot on Site, Market Place and Gallery W. But with our new layout, things have shifted.

In this rebooted format, you’ll notice that our Letters to the Editor section and our editorial cartoon are directly across from this page, offering opinions from our readers alongside this biweekly column. We also list some of our writers on this page, so you can put faces with the names of our talented contributors.

In the pages that follow, we offer expanded news pages for both Orlando and Tampa Bay, with more prominent headline placement and space for more photos and larger stories in both markets. Rather than simply reporting what happened, we hope to delve deeper into stories this year to give a unique perspective only an LGBT publication can give.

We also continue to expand coverage in Sarasota, throughout the state and the nation. Our news section transitions into opinion pieces with a page dedicated to recaps of interesting and sometimes fun news items of specific interest to the LGBT community. We call it Everything You Should Know About Anything, and it will also be home to the results of our biweekly web poll and comments found at WatermarkOnline.com.

While we are taking a more news-centric view of the world in 2012, that doesn’t mean we’re abandoning the lighter, entertainment-oriented world that so often caters directly to LGBTs. Our new Arts & Entertainment section will continue to bring you local happenings in our event planner, and Stephen Miller’s Screened Out column rating new films remains. You will also notice features on upcoming plays, shows, concerts and more with a commitment to the local communities we serve and those talented individuals who entertain us.

True, we all want to read those big celebrity interviews that show up in mainstream publications like People and US Weekly and we will surely have some of those this year. Florida is always a target destination for big-name acts. But our local groups, events, people and entertainers deserve a chance to be seen within the pages of their local LGBT publication.

In 2012 you will see familiar columnists in our pages, as well as a few new faces. I am confident those contributors will continue to enlighten, enrage and enthrall our readers with their insight and opinions.

Change is not always easy, but it is often necessary. This step in Watermark’s continuing evolution is exciting and I am anxious to hear your thoughts and input on our new look and our revamped dedication to covering our communities.

We are ambitious, and remain committed to being your source for local and national news, an opinion leader in our community and the authority on the impact of news on the LGBT community.

Happy New Year, and enjoy the new Watermark.

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