Clamor was a magazine of its time, well positioned near the centre of a movement who, in many ways, had only just discovered itself near the ends of the batons of the Seattle police force. Born in the flames of the 1999 Seattle WTO protests, Clamor helped to solidify a new generation’s media activism. They published until 2006 when financial and other pressures forced the founders to close the publication. Any one familiar with the come-and-go world of citizen’s media will appreciate the longevity of Clamor’s publication run. Last month, Jen Angel published an analysis of the magazine and the movement. It is a must-read for anyone interested in DIY media, and a virtual “how-to” and “how-not-to” for would-be activist magazine publishers.
From the beginning, Clamor focused on politics and culture…
Each issue included artwork and coverage of musicians, painters, performers, graffiti artists, and other cultural workers. And while they operated as a collective, it was a small collective where individuals had specialized tasks in the production cycle. Angel also describes how early on Clamor diversified income – magazine sales, advertising, media and radical art re-distribution, T-shirts, an annual fundraising drive, a yearly anthology.
As time went, Clamor faced challenges. Their target audience was a readership who tended to not purchase subscriptions or who couldn’t afford them. They had few business mentors to whom they could turn for advice in the difficult times. Other troubles included failing to cultivate new leadership within the organization, an inability to save money to allow for expansion or adjustment to crisis. At its peak, the magazine worked with a budget of $138,000. Angel recounts applying for grants and loans and being asked for documentation and reports that they didn’t have and didn’t know how to generate.
The article is a fascinating read for its historical analysis and a must-read for anyone interested in starting a DIY media publication.
Hats off to Jen Angel and the folks at Clamor Magazine for all their hardwork and for continuing to share their knowledge. We owe them a great debt which of course we will be busy paying forward…
To read the whole article and access the Clamor archives, click here.