Staff Updates

From the Owner

Owner Melanie Davis talks about the history and future of Brilliant Media LLC as Proud Queer makes its transition to web.

When I moved to Portland, Oregon in 1992 from Albuquerque, New Mexico to attend Portland State University, my objective was clear—secure a job and get my electrical engineering degree. While searching for a job I distinctly recall my grandmother Clara Padilla Andrews (former Secretary of State of New Mexico), who had moved here with my grandfather after her term ended, sharing with me that a local bilingual newspaper called El Hispanic News needed a sales person. I connected with Juan Pratts who founded the publication in 1981, and he hired me on the spot.

Back then we were printing black and white with few pages in a tabloid format. It was Juan’s goal to grow into a four-color broadsheet printing format, because in his words, “then our community will be taken seriously.” Back then industry dictated who was a “real newspaper” and who wasn’t based simply on printing format. As I was able to negotiate larger and longer-term accounts, Juan achieved his goal. Unfortunately, a few years later Mr. Pratts fell ill, and feared he would have to shut down El Hispanic News completely. Clara, however, knew the importance of the publication and viewed it as a huge community asset. She purchased El Hispanic News in 1996.

With Ms. Padilla Andrews at the helm, Clara brought national attention to the publication due to her reputation as the first Latina elected into executive office in the United States, and was recognized with a Congressional Medal of Honor. She immediately made El Hispanic News a member of the National Association of Hispanic Publications, where we became the nation’s number one bilingual weekly for seven consecutive years.

In 2008, I took ownership of the publication. That was the year the recession hit, and I am happy to say we proved publisher resilience by monetizing and automating online sales and by broadening our intersectional partnerships. For some years El Hispanic News produced and published the “Official Pride Guide” for Pride NW, making sure to include in our marketing budget funds to insert the Pride Guide into other racially diverse publications like The Asian Reporter and The Portland Observer. This made the Pride Guide wildly successful, and many mainstream Portland publications are still vying each year to outbid each other to produce the “Official Pride Guide” for Pride NW.

These trusted partnerships have helped our publications thrive. As we grew, we recognized a media void in the queer community of the Northwest and took the opportunity to launch PQ (Proud Queer) Monthly, a publication whose mission is to ensure “Every Letter & Every Color is Represented,” in February of 2012. As we grew, we decided to take it a step future and ring a new bell by launching Tankside, a mainstream motorcycle magazine. We have developed a substantial portfolio of media outlets under the Brilliant Media LLC. umbrella—not too bad for a Chicanx biker from the barrio!

Now, it’s time to take these media outlets to the next level. Gone are the days of the industry telling us what size and format to print, or dictating to us when they can print our publications, forcing us to revolve around seemingly arbitrary deadlines. Life, events and conversations are happening in real-time, and our platforms provide easy access to all the tools necessary to broaden and deep our media landscape without. With that said, I am thrilled to say that with the support of our readers and advertisers, effective immediately El Hispanic News, PQ (Proud Queer), and Tankside will be 100% digital. Secondly, we are also happy to announce we are in the process of publishing annual books that will reflect each media outlet’s best content. Each book published will have a revenue sharing model built into it that will directly benefit each contributor. As you all know, I am a firm believer that the road to equality is equity!

I have served this industry for 32 years collectively, and am done with the system preying on our community’s voices by economically choking us and weighing us down with capitalist censorship. We will no longer subscribe to that oppressive business system. Rather than being broken by that system, we are creating a better one.

Both our newer and charter advertisers who support this exciting change will enjoy the benefit of huge ad savings and better opportunities to directly engage with Brilliant Media LLC’s vast social media audiences, and our writers will have the opportunity to share their perspectives in real-time, rather than scheduling around the outmoded print deadline. Plus, we will be providing our community greater access to our writers’ best in annual books. If you have any questions please email them to our VP of Marketing, Miguel Cobian, at sales@brilliantmedia.company. Thank you very much and we look forward to seeing you in the comment section!

Melanie Davis
Owner, Brilliant Media LLC

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