Why are you in Tucson?
... I moved here basically to get out of the Midwest for a little while and go to graduate school for library and information science.
Why library and information science?
For me, it's something I've been wanting to do ever since I got my first graduate degree in American culture studies. I actually published my thesis on zines and how zines can serve as kind of a way to radicalize kids from communities of privilege--you know, like young, white, middle-class kids thinking about race, class and gender issues. So I wrote my thesis about that, and one of the chapters in my thesis was about how libraries need to pay special attention to collecting ephemeral, independent underground media. Through that, it kind of piqued my interest in library science. ... I started Clamor when I was finishing up graduate school the first time around. So I've spent the last six years working part-time jobs and working on Clamor.
So do you have people working on the magazine in lots of different places?
Totally. That's sort of the new model for magazines, I think, that a number of our peers are using. We have our headquarters in Toledo, and in our headquarters is where we store all of our inventory. We actually run a small online art and media store that kind of supplements Clamor's cash flow. So that's based in Toledo, and then we have editors scattered all around the country: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Richmond, (Va.). All the editors are on the "About" page of the Clamor Web site, so you can read a little bit more about them. They're an amazing group of folks.
What is the purpose of a magazine like Clamor?
Initially--and I think still to this day--the goal was to kind of amplify some voices from in the margins, voices that are typically shut out of mainstream media outlets. I had been steeped in zine culture--sort of the idea that people can create independent print media and get it out there instantly. There's kind of a really great power to it, but it's also limited in its ability to reach people outside the subculture in which zines are popular. We started Clamor basically to kind of amplify the voices of people we thought were saying really important things in the margins, and create something that was a lot more accessible. You know, it's a glossy magazine; it's on all of the major corporate and independent bookstore newsstands. ... That's the short goal; there's a longer mission which involves sort of stirring up some shit now and then and to serve as a really positive example for people who are trying to make the world a little bit better.
What shit have you stirred?
Well, most recently was the American Apparel stuff. I guess going back a little further--in 2004, we released an issue just before the elections that featured ... (President) George Bush on the cover. It was a mosaic made up of faces of soldiers who were killed in Iraq. And the title of the magazine was "Stop Me Before I Kill Again." Sort of in a weird twist, that was also an issue that we had arranged to have Barnes and Noble promote on the endcaps of all their stores. So, nationwide, the endcaps of all their shelves had this pretty intense cover that was really popular and really resonated with people.
What about this American Apparel business?
Now, we're sort of dealing with the fact that we're publishing in the upcoming issue this 10-page exposé on American Apparel. It's not an investigative piece; it's just sort of a recap and a collection of everything that people are talking about the company. We didn't send in reporters with cameras under their hats and stuff like that. We just kind of had a couple of really good reporters dig around and see what they could find--talk to some people. ... They kind of critique the company and call attention to some of the things people have been talking about and wondering about.
What's "participatory media?" I noticed that term in the "About" section of the Clamor Web site.
Primarily for me, and I think to a lot of the editors and the people who read the magazine, participatory media means--especially now with a lot of technological advances--that people can and should be involved in creating media that is relevant to their communities, and relevant to the interests and ideas that they have and the things that are important to them.