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From The Editor: Providence, Thanks For The Memories

Updated: Nov 27, 2023


After two wonderful years, the editor-in-chief of Options Magazine sadly must say goodbye as life takes him outside of New England.


Dear Reader,


Two years ago, I was offered the role of Options Magazine’s editor-in-chief. It has been a wonderful experience, filled with amazing people, interesting stories, and good writing. Sadly, I will be stepping down once my replacement is picked and ready to take the reins.


It has been a fun adventure running Options Magazine. I was taking over from a wonderful and kind editor, Jen Stevens, who helped me so much to get on my feet and help our volunteers and I get Options ready for the next chapter in the magazine’s tale.


When I started, the pandemic was still keeping most people stuck at home. The magazine had suspended print editions – we had no one doing advertising or development and just two volunteer writers. Since then, we have gone to an annual print edition, started an annual awards show, interviewed local leaders and RuPaul’s Drag Race stars, and published articles from over 30 different writers.


Options has always been a community-wide effort, and I am happy to see we continued that while I was here. We also had some help from my partner Gil Pontes and while Options is not rich, his hard work put the magazine on stable financial footing that our new development and advertising director, Zach Hall, will be able to continue into the future.


Options was also ready for change. It is no secret that as editor, I was brought on to force major changes to ensure the survival of the magazine post-pandemic. While I attempted to straddle keeping old things that worked, I also brought new things – even when others didn’t approve – to the magazine.


Options continued the newsletter and also tried new ideas too. We stopped publishing straight press releases from nonprofits, interviewing their leaders instead, and focused more on profile features, investigative reporting, opinion, poetry, and the arts. As editor, I even penned an almost monthly column, Chattering Classes, which was one of our most popular series. The print edition was redesigned to follow a more artistic Art Deco look and have been helping prepare our website to follow in that look (assuming the next editor lets me – it’s their call).


Our magazine also saw major changes in leadership. Many board members and volunteers were ready to let the next generation take over. This led to us having many new faces and an almost entirely new board of directors, including a new chair, Ryan Vigneau, joined by new board members including Jackie Goldman and Kwana Adams.


Options also did its first podcast, Providence Vibes, which did far better than I thought it might do. It is my hope Options will produce many more podcasts in the future from the many different voices in our community. (Have an idea for a podcast? Email alex@optionsri.org and I’ll pass it along).


I followed a path inspired by quarterly magazines including The Baufler and Jacobin, along with keeping an eye to what major LGBTQ outlets were doing. We even got noticed by national LGBTQ media – in fact, each year I was at Options, we were nominated for recognition in the National LGBTQ Journalist Association’s Excellence In Journalism Awards. It was my hope to eventually build Options into a quarterly print publication, but in many ways, it is best for me to take my bow and let the next editor take it from here.


Part of me can’t bear to go, Providence has always had a special place in my heart and I have enjoyed being Options’ editor so much, but life is pulling me in a direction that would make it unfair to try and stay. Looking back, I know I completed the work that Options needed me to do – which was to be an agent of change.


Now it is time for the next editor to take Options and run with it – wherever the story takes them. I will always offer advice and help to the next editor if they want it, but it’s time for a fresh editor to come in.


To those who have a passion for Providence, Rhode Island, and Southern New England; to those who love telling stories about Queer people and places; to the reporter who is unafraid to ask tough questions and make powerful people uncomfortable; and to the writers and editors who demand journalistic excellence, Options is ready for you!


Apply here or email alex@optionsri.org.


With love Providence, thanks for the memories.


Cheers,


Alex Morash


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