JOURNALIST Q&A: Michelle Darné

In 2001, Michelle Darné took a risk by launching a first-of-its-kind, bi-monthly magazine focusing on the largely neglected segment of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) parents. Three years and several awards later, And Baby has become required reading for alternative families. Here, Darné talks to PRWeek about the reasons for her venture, her experiences with the media, and her future goals.

In 2001, Michelle Darné took a risk by launching a first-of-its-kind, bi-monthly magazine focusing on the largely neglected segment of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) parents. Three years and several awards later, And Baby has become required reading for alternative families. Here, Darné talks to PRWeek about the reasons for her venture, her experiences with the media, and her future goals.

PRWeek: What prompted you to create And Baby? Michelle Darné: I had just assumed, being out all of those years, that there had to be something in the community that I could turn to for information and resources when I wanted to start a family. And there wasn't. After about 18 months of internal research, our numbers brought us to about 3 million children living with gay and lesbian parents. It was fantastic because it basically solidified the reason I took this huge risk. PRWeek: You mentioned in a recent New York Times interview that, at first, advertisers seemed hesitant. Did you have that problem with publicists, as well? Darné: The PR community has been pretty consistent with us all along. I hope that more and more people are going to know that we exist and that we'll get inundated with ideas. We want to look at products, books, and anything that we should be writing about. PRWeek: Are there any areas where you're lacking in pitches? Darné: I'd love to get more pitches on bisexuality. There are a lot of people in the GLBT community, and we try to cover all sides very well. That being said, it's very difficult to find anything about bisexuals, so we want any leads on people who are bisexual and are starting a family, or want to start one. PRWeek: How does the content in And Baby differ from its competitors'? Darné: We're positioned in a very unique space and, because of that, don't really compete with other GLBT publications. Most are skewed toward just males or females, while we attract both. Also, they typically have a lot of alcohol, tobacco, and sex-oriented advertising, which I don't allow. We wanted to go after clients that no one in the community had been able to land. We've been able to get mainstream advertisers that have always wanted to advertise to the gay and lesbian community, but hadn't found a wholesome vehicle that allowed them to do so. Plus, our content talks about the entire family, from ages zero to 18, which most mainstream parenting magazines don't. PRWeek: What changes do you foresee in And Baby's future? Darné: Hopefully, next year we'll be doing eight issues instead of our usual six, with two of those being specials. Also, when I created the company, I never intended for it to be a single-title magazine. I used a business strategy that allows for a radio show, a TV show, online media, and merchandising. There's a much bigger picture going on here than just the magazine itself. Name: Michelle Darné Publication: And Baby Title: Founder and publisher Preferred contact method: through her assistant, ryan@andbabymag.com Website: andbabymag.com

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