This edition of Gallery marks eighteen years in print for Gallery. That’s seventeen years and nine months more than I’d initially intended. When we first published this magazine, with the goal of being ‘slightly less boring than the rest of the media landscape in Jersey’, I’d never anticipated that it would make it to adulthood.
Print media was dying, even back in 2004. Having come from digital development background, I thought it would be quirky. I’d made maps as a sideline at Uni and printing things seemed retro. Magazines are a link to the past, a luxury, a dying product in a digital world. They’re expensive to produce and if you make a mistake, you can’t edit and repost. Print is an unforgiving format.
Nevertheless, I sought to develop Gallery to embrace island creativity and focus on fun, local content. We’re advertising-funded, which means we do have to take a diverse approach to content in order to cover costs, but I think we’ve managed to do it with a reasonable degree of integrity over the years while still doing ludicrous photoshoots, courting controversy and using swearword when required. We still just about run out of stock of each edition as they fly out of our stands. This one desperately needs to get finished, back from the printer and into those stands; they’re all pretty much empty as I type.
This edition is titled ‘Expandable’. I do wonder what we’re thinking when we try and theme each issue, as that was a pretty tough one to match to content. Our feature on a new, expandable venue is having to wait until the next edition; two weeks of rain has prevented us from taking a good shot of it. A feature about how we’ve expanded Gallery to include media in other areas would have been a bit narcissistic but I’m proud that my team and I over the years have taken a look at what’s available and tried to do what others do, but with a quirky edge. Whether our Appetite food guide, our Places property portal, our What’s On tourist guides or our contract publishing titles. It’s been fun.
It’s interesting that as we mark this occasion, there is a potentially watershed moment in local media as our respected but ailing local paper combines with the digital start-up that sought to unseat it. I’ve always liked the Bailiwick Express idea, although it seems that the digital model doesn’t work without print. They announced a paper a few years ago that never came to fruition, so it will be interesting to see how they now permeate the old guard at the new Bailiwick Evening Express Post. Just like the unexpected longevity of Gallery, I’ve held a fondness for the unexpected continued existence of a local paper. I have to admit I only picked it up a few times a year, but I do think it’s something a local community should have for its news. I look forward to seeing how they change it up.