The new publisher of The Word and Up Downtown is combining the publications and re-launching the revamped product on Thursday.
The combined Indianapolis-based publication will fly under the banner for The Word, with Up Downtown remaining as a section focusing on downtown happenings.
The Word will remain focused on news and events of interest to the LGBT community in Indiana, but publisher D.J. Doran, who bought the publications in February, said it will have a much wider appeal.
“We didn’t see an advantage to splitting our interests with the set-up and production of two separate newspapers,” Doran said. “We want to focus all our energy into increasing content and making this one paper better.”
In addition to publishing news of interest to the LGBT community—and “from an LBGT perspective"—Doran promised to provide general-interest content in the free monthly publication, noting that Nuvo Newsweekly is seen as a competitor.
Both The Word and Up Downtown have been publishing since Doran acquired them in February. The page count of The Word now is increasing from 64 to 92 pages.
Doran has grown the staff from one employee—former publisher Ted Fleischaker, who worked on both publications—to six full-time employees and four contributors.
Readers of the former version will note other changes. Doran, 55, said he killed The Word’s gossip column because it was too divisive. He has added sections covering arts and entertainment, business, sports and politics. He also widened the scope of the Up Downtown coverage from the Mass Ave area to the entire downtown. Classified and marketplace sections also have been added, he said.
Before he bought the newspaper from locally based Fleischaker, The Word and Up Downtown were 80-percent advertising, Doran said.
“Right now we’re running 45- to 47-percent advertising,” Doran said “We’ve pledged never to run more than 50-percent advertising.”
That doesn’t mean advertising revenue is down. This year's revenue for the combined operation is up 40 percent, Doran said, adding that national advertising is up $30,000 so far this year. He expects national ad revenue to be at least $100,000 next year.
Early next year, Doran said, he’ll start publishing The Word twice a month.
“We feel to really be on top of the current news, we need to print a little more often,” Doran said. “We want to have more engagement.”
The print run of The Word has been increased by 38 percent to 9,000 copies, he said.
Doran, a U.S. Air Force veteran, is hosting a re-launch party Thursday night where he will not only announce plans for his publication, but also for an around-the-world flight in a World War II-era DC-3 plane.
That endeavor will begin from Indianapolis in 2018 and take seven months to complete. Doran is calling it Pride Flight 2018, and it's the cover feature for this month’s The Word, which hit the streets Thursday.
“This is a goodwill mission,” Doran said. “There’s been so much negative attention on Indiana with RFRA and the Midwest with what happened in Kentucky, I was trying to think of something we could do to unite the entire community,” he said. “It will also bring some attention to our publication.”
Doran also publishes a gay travel magazine that circulates in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.