Pagan publishing in a changing world: an interview with Anne Newkirk Niven

FOREST GROVE, Ore. — Pagan magazine publishing might be considered a cottage industry, with a rich tradition that extends back to the days when newsletters were created on photocopy machines and shared ad infinitum among friends. BBI Media might not be operated out of an actual cottage, but it is one of the last remaining publishers of Pagan-focused print magazines in the United States, and it isn’t exactly an empire, either. “We work out of our basement,” said Anne Newkirk Niven, whose company puts out both Witches & Pagans and SageWoman magazines. “People are surprised when they call and I answer the phone.

Thorn Magazine and the Future of the Medium

The latest issue (#3) of Thorn Magazine is now out, featuring wonderful writing from Thorn Coyle, Sannion, Erynn Rowan Laurie, Phillip A. Bernhardt-House, Lupa, and yours truly (among many others). Of special note is an article on the future of Pagan journalism and magazine publishing by Jack Lux and Michael Night Sky. In it, the authors interview Ann Newkirk Niven about her recent decision to merge PanGaia and newWitch (into the new Witches and Pagans), Oberon Zell about the up-and-down history of Green Egg, and Keter Elan, former editor of the now-defunct Mezlim magazine. In their conclusion, Lux and Night Sky wonder if Pagan publications are stuck in a transitional time due to the influence of the Internet. “…the purpose of a magazine changes to suit its audience, and Pagan journalism may be fixating on a role for which it is no longer useful …

Me and the Pagan Centered Podcast

The inevitable collision of The Wild Hunt and the Pagan Centered Podcast has finally happened. In the just-posted episode 107: New Media In Paganism, I spend over an hour chatting with Dave about Pagan unity, the Pagan blogosphere, why the legal struggles of Santeria practitioners are important to Pagans, and the future of Pagan journalism. You can download the show directly, here. The show is also streaming at the Pagan Radio Network (as is my own podcast, A Darker Shade of Pagan). In other “stuff that I do that isn’t The Wild Hunt” news, my article on influential Pagans for the 50th (and last) issue of PanGaia is available for free download from the PanGaia web site.

PanGaia Ends, Merges With NewWitch

I just received my contributors copy of PanGaia #50 in the mail*, and enclosed with the issue is a letter from editor Anne Newkirk Niven explaining that due to a reexamination of “preconceptions” she will be ending PanGaia and merging its content and contributors into newWitch magazine. “I have recently come to the conclusion that dividing our editorial into one “popular” magazine and one “serious” one is no longer a functional paradigm. What we really need today, I believe, is a single, united magazine – a Pagan journal of record – that covers a broad spectrum of Pagan lifestyle, theology, and community; equally able to profile Pagan celebrities and deeply engage with the issues of being Pagan in a new millennium.” The new, larger, magazine will be entitled “newWitch: Creating Pagan Community” and will incorporate PanGaia columnists like Judy Harrow and R.J. Stewart, along with the magazine’s “Toe to Toe” department, into newWitch’s existing content (and keeping, I assume, popular newWitch columnists like Isaac Bonewits and Phil Brucato). Niven also claims that by combining these two magazines she’ll be able to get BBI Media’s stable (which includes Sage Woman) back on a regular quarterly schedule.

Should We Be Mixing With Harry Potter?

The latest Harry Potter film is opening this week, and the last Harry Potter book is coming out later this month, so once again the press is looking for new angles in which to report on this cultural phenomenon. Some are counting down the top cinematic Wizards (and Witches), others are interviewing the stars of the film, and some are digging up possible spoilers from Harry Potter “hackers”.”Harry Potter hackers say they have discovered the secrets behind the last book in the series, but the fact they disagree with each other casts doubt on their claims … One hacker-theory has Harry Potter deciding to end his life in order to kill his evil enemy Voldemort and also that Ron and Hermione will both die, after which the trio are reunited in the Deathly Hallows – the Ghost World – along with Harry’s late parents, Sirius Black and Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore. However, a hacker calling himself Gabriel claims Ron and Hermione are attacked by Lord Voldemort and Hermione sacrifices her life to save Ron.”One might think that many modern Pagans would be eager to ride this press bandwagon, but due to the hostile reactions from some Christian communities, most modern Pagans have taken pains to explain that Harry Potter isn’t some sort of recruitment tool for the occult arts, and have avoiding equating themselves with the popular series. But others in the wider Pagan community aren’t so scrupulous, and have bent over backwards to insert themselves into Pottermania.”If you’ve ever wondered whether you’re more Griffyndor than Slytherin or ever doubted whether you really are just a muggle?