"If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture in full color is worth ten thousand. Though there are many fine publications available of interest to the Deaf community, to my knowledge DEAF LIFE is unique, not only because of its contemporary design and comprehensive coverage of current events and issues, but also because it is producedin full color, cover to coverby deaf and hearing-impaired professionals," says Matthew Moore, publisher and president of MSM Productions.
This announcement follows the national distribution of the first issue of DEAF LIFE, a magazine about deaf Americans which will interest and benefit all its readers, both deaf and hearing. From its inception, Moore has approached the project with confidence and determination. "I started thinking on a national level. Other people tried to advise me to start as a local Rochester publication, then slowly build to state and then national distribution. But I figured: ‘Why think small when the need is so great?’"
Several thousand editions have been printed and are being distributed nationally to institutions, schools, universities, and individuals who requested a trial issue. Three thousand flyers were sent out initially, using selected mailing lists. Through those responses returned, plus word-of-mouth requests, the number of magazines printed was double the number of flyers originally mailed out.
As publisher of DEAF LIFE, Moore, 28, sees the magazine as the realization of one of his dreams.
"Of course I want DEAF LIFE to inform and entertain. But it is my hope that it will bring more understandingto parents of deaf children, educators, advocates and government officials, as well as Americans in general. I want the publication to express how weas deaf Americansview life around us. Because of our deafness, we are unique in how we think, how we feel and what we are doing."
In its "variety" format, DEAF LIFE will include profiles on deaf and hearing individuals who have made significant contributions to the life and welfare of the deaf community; regular interviews with those working in the political and legal arenas who are involved in issues that are important to the deaf; film, TV, and video reviews using a rating system with visual criteria and a listing of available captioned media; features on people and places of general interest that are accessible to the deaf via assistive devices and/or interpreting services; feature articles on new technology available to aid deaf people in everyday life; advertising that reflects services and products for the deaf (TTYs, relay services, hearing aids), as well as most other services and products available to the general public.
"I was a little astounded, and of course pleased, to find that my initial printing would be 7,000 issues," remarks Moore. "Now that they are out and circulating, it is only a matter of time before we get the initial 100,000 subscribers we need to begin monthly production. Word-of-mouth is very strong in the deaf community and a very effective informational and advertising medium. Even before the first issue went out, we had about 1,700 people who sent in their checks to get the first issuesight unseenof DEAF LIFE. That is how quickly the news of it spread and how evidently strong the need is for such a magazine. I am extremely confident in the success of this venture and the support it will receive."
If all goes as planned, regular production and distribution will begin January 1988.
"We need the time between now and then," Moore explains, "to get the firm commitment from subscribers, solidify our ad sales, and prepare four to five issues in advance. We’ll have the basic layout readyfeature stories and the likebut will also be able to include the most ‘up-to-the-minute’ news items possible for a monthly publication."