On the Dimming of Shine Magazine

The November 22, 2007 Message column focused on the prospect of a local magazine war involving at least three publications -- 5280, the existing champ, which had proved that Denver could support a glossy in style; Denver magazine, whose execs were devoted to reviving the name of a pub that died in the early '90s; and Shine, the latest project from Zac Folk, whose previous effort, Bloom, had withered among charges of slow-pays or no-pays from assorted freelancers. Well, subtract one combatant. The glitter is off the much-ballyhooed Shine, which is folding before the release of its second issue.

Folk had boasted that his latest creation was "fully funded" -- meaning that he could publish long enough for Shine to rise, as well as pay off any remaining Bloom creditors. So why the eclipse?

"We had been doing very well with Shine. Our ad contacts for our second issue were very high," he insists. "But given the economic downturn and the inability to get any additional large investors to come in, we felt that even though we could have gone forward, it wasn't prudent to do so."

Previously, Folk hadn't given the slightest hint that additional investors were needed to keep Shine aglow. Indeed, his comments suggested that Jeff Hill, who owns the small Gelazzi chain of eateries, provided all the bankroll he needed -- and Folk stresses that Hill didn't pull his funding. "He was willing to put more money in if we could find additional investors," he says. "But we couldn't find additional people to come in" -- not even socialite Holly Kylberg, who Folk named co-editor after Shine's debut in the fall of 2007. "We didn't go to Holly to be an investor," he notes. "It was never our plan to try to go to our deep-pocket friends. We were trying to get institutional money. Publishing is a difficult business, and I think having the right money was also important to our moving forward." But while he feels "we had a lot of positive momentum going on with investors and some publishing companies," deals that looked like they were going to happen over the past several months never came to fruition. "I think a lot of that is due to the economic factor," he allows.

Considering Folk's history with Bloom, individuals who toiled for Shine have every right to wonder if they'll be fully compensated for their labors -- and he concedes that not everyone has been paid in full to date. But rather than making a simple promise to do so, he switches on the spin cycle. "On a global perspective, we're working with all of our constituents to make sure there's a resolution," he maintains. "There's a different scenario for each case, but I'm actively finding resolutions to any outstanding issues."


As for Folk's future, he says the collapse of Shine hasn't soured him on the magazine business. In his words, "I would love to do some sort of publishing or new media, whether it be in Denver or somewhere else."

Given how quickly Shine set, not to mention outstanding debts he still must tackle, this last option may be hard to resist. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts