There are many shades of black : a study of the goth subculture for creation of an original gothic magazine

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Benson, Leslie I.
Sumner, David E., 1946-
Issue Date
Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Journalism
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Since the late 1970s, the gothic movement has attracted aesthetically minded individuals with wide interests in dark arts, music, fashion, religion, history, and alternative lifestyles. As the subculture continues to thrive, mainstream media outlets such as newspapers, radio stations, and magazines have picked up on its trends. A growing number of goths now retrieve news and events about their subculture from niche magazines and Internet sites catering to their crowd. Gothic nightclubs and music festivals join such individuals together, and national retail chain stores such as Hot Topic sell merchandise to goths and their subsidiaries.With about 10,000 goths currently living in Great Britain, thousands more exist in other areas of Europe, in Asia, and in the United States. Only about 200 online and print magazines cater to goths worldwide, according to gothic researcher and journalist Mick Mercer (2002), making it a virtually untapped market worthy of media and advertiser attention. Only one such magazine, Dark Realms, exists in the Midwest, making that specific area in even greater need of a gothic magazine focusing on its members and followers.Gothic research remains limited. However, scholarly research on magazine content, design, and bias is abundant. This researcher therefore conducted a literature review on the vast fields of magazine content and bias, as well as the uses and gratifications communications-based research theory, to gain insight into the reasons why people read magazines and how a new publisher can create a successful, unbiased publication.In addition, the researcher conducted a content analysis of two West Coast-based goth magazines, Newgrave and Gothic Beauty, to determine if content bias existed therein. Overall, both magazines printed more fashion than music content and failed to print any music articles written in an in-depth, narrative format. Also, articles of substance concerning societal issues affecting goths amounted to only 0.5 percent of total content in both publications.This researcher used all of the data acquired from the literature review and content analysis to create Echo Immortalis, an original Midwest-based gothic magazine prototype, as well as an accompanying business plan, media kit, and Web site ( The researcher's goal is to professionally launch and distribute the glossy magazine and its future issues at bookstores, coffee shops, gothic clothing stores, music venues, and nightclubs in the Midwest gothic and industrial communities.