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Mixed Media : 3 More Titles for Neglected Readers

October 04, 1994|MICHAEL QUINTANILLA

For too long, they say, their voices have been ignored, their faces overlooked and their stories stereotyped.

The creators of several new, Los Angeles-based quarterly ethnic magazines are hoping to change all that, targeting markets they say are largely untapped.

Charles Squires, director of the New York-based Ethnic Magazine Coalition, notes that most new magazines fail because they are either underfinanced or poorly distributed. "To give voice to an ethnic group is . . . empowering," he says. "To not have the money or the know-how is not."

But these local entrepreneurs have accepted the long odds, launching Image, a magazine for men of color; Que Linda! an English-language beauty and fitness magazine for Latinas, and YOLK, a popular-culture periodical targeting young Asian Americans. Times staff writer Michael Quintanilla tells their stories.

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Two other Los Angeles-based ethnic quarterlies, Unity LA and Latin Style, were launched recently. And organizers of United Front, a monthly newspaper written by students of color at USC, hope to publish their first issue this month.

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For Younger Readers: Unity LA Publisher and Editor Shelley Miller says her magazine, targeted to 16- to 20-year-olds, is a product of the riots of 1992.

After the riots, Miller, 46, a former school psychologist now in private practice, researched her magazine idea by conducting focus groups with more than 150 students at 30 high schools. Along the way she assembled writers, artists and other students whom she paid to help produce the first issue, spending $35,000 of her own money.

Miller hopes eventually to reach 2 million ethnic teen-agers and young adults nationwide through newsstand sales with the first quarterly issue, which sells for $2.50 and features a cover story on actress Rosie Perez talking about AIDS with Venice High School students.

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Latino Entertainment: "We will do poetry and authors, art and literature. We hope to open up other people's eyes to our culture," says Walter Martinez, 45, publisher and editor of Latin Style, an English-language magazine that will focus on Latino art and entertainment in Los Angeles.

Martinez, who also is associate publisher of Venice magazine, wants to give Latino readers "a sense of accomplishment among our people," he says. "We aren't going to cover the negatives of the world--others are doing that fairly well, thank you."

The first issue, with comic actor Cheech Marin on its cover, includes stories on La Mafia, a Houston-based Tex-Mex musical group, trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and the film "Mi Vida Loca." Social issues and, always, Latino celebrities will be featured.

"I have absolute confidence that I can make the magazine work," Martinez says about the publication sold for $2.50 on newsstands and through subscriptions. "We are a small company backed by investors who believe in the product."

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Newspaper for Students: Daniel Ruiz, managing editor of United Front, hopes the USC publication for students of color will be more than a free newspaper.

"I want it to be a student movement, not a business-run organization," says Ruiz, a 19-year-old sophomore. "We decided to do this out of necessity."

Last April, Ruiz and several other students of color organized and founded United Front, an alternative newspaper that will focus on issues that directly affect the campus's ethnic students and the diverse community surrounding USC. The monthly publication also will address culture and ethnic entertainment such as banda music.

The unpaid staff hopes to launch the publication later this month with a press run of about 10,000. United Front receives no university funds and will be supported through advertising or by the students themselves, says Ruiz, the group's spokesman.

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