A cyberspace publisher On-line magazine: Timothy Moore compiles Keep It Real on his home computer in Randallstown and distributes it on the Internet.

January 04, 1996|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

Timothy Moore says that when he read magazines, he often felt the stories didn't reflect his life as a young African-American.

That's why the Randallstown resident recently started his own magazine, Keep It Real, on the Internet.

The monthly magazine offers articles, reviews and personal essays geared toward black readers, said Mr. Moore, 29, who compiles it on his home computer.

"It's important to have publications like this because there are so few sites for African-Americans on the World Wide Web," he said. "We offer an innovative alternative."

Mr. Moore's magazine joins a growing number of publications on the Internet. James Kennedy, managing editor of InterAd Monthly, said there are hundreds of publications -- many of them the Web sites of established magazines -- with more being added on the Net every day.

"The number is immeasurable because there are literally thousands of pathways and some smaller publications that we are not even aware of," said Mr. Kennedy, who works for Web Track, a New York company producing databases and newsletters about advertising on the Internet.

Publications increase

Larry Kaufman, vice president and director of professional development for Magazine Publishers of America, said the number of publications created specifically for the Internet is growing as more people are using computers.

A year ago, Mr. Moore barely had heard of Web sites.

Working as a music producer and promoter of local acts, he met Maurice Thompson, 26, a real estate manager from Chicago, while preparing a bid to provide performers for a Florida college event.

Mr. Thompson has been interested in computers since he was a youngster and the two struck up a conversation about the blossoming opportunities on-line. Mr. Moore said he originally envisioned a publication devoted to the music industry and began cruising the Internet to see what publications existed.

What he found, he said, was the chance to communicate with people around the world via chat rooms and e-mail -- learning about their lives and experiences as he shared his own. That's when Mr. Moore decided that his magazine should give voice to blacks, a group he felt was underrepresented on-line.

Working with Mr. Thompson, a team of five free-lance writers, a photographer and two editors, Mr. Moore put together the first issue -- which appeared at the end of November -- featuring interviews with rap artists, a first-person account of the Million Man March and an article on the media's treatment of the O. J. Simpson murder trial with eye-catching graphics.

A big advantage in starting the magazine on-line has been the cost, Mr. Moore said. It's a fraction of the thousands of dollars an aspiring publisher would need to start a conventional magazine. And in the electronic marketplace, Keep It Real has the potential to be seen by the millions who own home computers.

5,000 browsers in month

Mr. Thompson said more than 5,000 on-line browsers visited the magazine's site -- http://www.charm.net/ (tilde)ces/keep_it_real/ -- during its first month on-line. While it is free for the readers, advertisers are charged "per hit," based on the number of readers who visit the site.

Mr. Moore said he realizes that his magazine, which he views as unconventional and "true to the streets," may not appeal to everyone but believes it serves as a testament to the diversity within the black community and an example of how African-Americans are helping to shape the new frontier that is the Internet.

"It's important that others understand our views and our culture," Mr. Moore said. "African-Americans can participate and be successful in anything."

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