What It’s Like To Start A Digital Mag On Global Women’s Issues

Magazines are going through quite a transition these days. While print newspapers are in a downward spiral, digital magazines are thriving.

And that’s exactly why now is an opportune moment to create a digital pub. At least that’s what Daria Solovieva and Ivy Ng are hoping. The Columbia Journalism School grads recently created Valerie, a “space to feature female writers, bloggers, photographers, bring you stories of inspiring women and feature economic, social and political issues impacting lives of women across the globe.”

10,000 Words recently spoke to Solovieva (via email) about the ups and downs of creating an online-only pub. She says that she and her partner never considered that Valerie would be a print mag.

“The idea was always for an online, global platform that reflects how young professional women are increasingly consuming news and also the topics they’re actually interested in,” Solovieva explained. “None of my own peers subscribe to print women’s magazines anymore because the bulk of their content is limited to fashion and entertainment, which is also available for free online.”

Solovieva says she and Ng came up with the inspiration behind Valerie when they realized something was missing in mainstream media: global, female-centered stories.

“I noticed that many of my colleagues were interested in stories and subjects that were not covered by traditional media,” Solovieva said. “We were also not really interested in traditional women’s magazines, which reflect predominantly stereotypical notions of what women should read and care about.”

And so, Valerie was born. The site is currently ad free, but Solovieva says that may soon change.

“We are discussing options and may introduce certain ads later on. But in the beginning it was important for us to focus and feature our contributors’ work.”

Speaking of those contributors– they are a very generous bunch, as none of them are being paid. Valerie’s content is created entirely by volunteers at the moment. Solovieva says she hopes to be able to compensate her writers in the near future.

“We are very lucky to get a lot of writers, editors and photographers to contribute at this early stage. But yes we’re planning to start paying our contributors very soon.”

As for Solovieva’s goals for Valerie, her number one priority is unsurprisingly, fundraising.

“Our immediate goal is to raise funding to support editorial staff, freelance contributors, continue to develop our content and expand global coverage. We want to be a community for female journalists and a safe forum to discuss global issues that impact women.”

Only time will tell whether Solovieva succeeds in her mission. In the meantime, it’s heartening to see young, entrepreneurial journalists creating original content on such an important, under-reported topic. I say, good for them.

What do you think? Are global women’s issues ignored by the mainstream media?