Sharon Sweeney Keech and Sue Emerson see the need for a different kind of magazine for teen-agers.
"A positive message" is how Mrs. Emerson, a West Friendship former technical writer, describes it. "Not so much how girls can do their make-ups so guys will notice them."
Their solution: Baltimore Teen, a 25,000-circulation quarterly that debuted in March and is distributed in high schools and libraries in Baltimore City and in Baltimore and Howard counties.
The magazine, co-published by Ms. Keech and edited by Mrs. Emerson, lists services, resources, activities and events for people ages 13 to 18, along with articles of interest to teen-agers.
"One of the things we discovered in talking to teens is that everybody is telling them what they can't do all the time," said Ms. Keech, a Catonsville resident. "We wanted to come out with something positive that says, 'This is what you can do.' "
Mrs. Emerson, who has two children, ages 7 and 11, added: "As parents . . . we want our kids to have places to go, besides hanging out at the mall."
Co-published by Joanne Giza, the magazine is a sister publication of Baltimore's Child, a 12-year-old, 70,000-circulation monthly newspaper aimed at parents, and of "Baltimore Baby," a biannual resource guide for new and expectant parents that debuted in January.
Baltimore Teen evolved from a college and drug-free prom guide Ms. Giza and Ms. Keech published last year.
"We got such a good response from it, we thought, 'Let's make it a quarterly for teens,'" Ms. Keech said.
Originally, the magazine was called Niche. When they learned that another publication had the same name, the publishers changed it.
Sporting a style simpler than the national teen-age magazines, Baltimore Teen contains what the publishers hope is information useful to young people.
On the cover of the summer issue, characters are shown bicycling around a cheerful sun in the sky. Inside, are calendars of events, youth-oriented features, a column by an Ellicott City psychologist and youth-oriented advertising.
In the spring issue, Amrit Dhillon, 17, a senior at Atholton High School, wrote an article on Project PROMise, a consignment shop in Columbia. She was paid $50.
"It's great," said Ms. Dhillon, an aspiring journalist. "It's really what I want to do. It helps me get more exposure."
Baltimore Teen has yet to turn a profit, said Ms. Keech. Still, the women are optimistic that the new magazine will attract more advertising, prosper and become a must-have for teen-agers.
"I'd like for them to think of it as their publication," Mrs. Emerson said.
And there are signs that it may be carving a niche for itself. Ms. Keech noted the reaction to an advertisement in Baltimore's Child telling potential readers that the magazine would be available in local libraries.
"We've been told we caused a fuss in the libraries," Ms. Keech said.
"I think they went very quickly, and the libraries were getting abused for not having it."