As far back as Autumn 1993, GNI has been publishing the Gay Naturist Informer. Varying in style and sizes, The Informer was GNI’s official publication produced every quarter for many years. In the late 90s, the publication was taken over by Bob Firman, the editor at the time, who worked hard to increase the professional appearance of the publication from a newsletter / brochure format to an actual magazine. The Informer blossomed from an average 20-page per issue newsletter to 70 – 80 pages. While this enhancement did wonders to the publication, the only way that GNI was distributing each issue was to have it printed and mailed to members. In the late 90s and early 2000s, printing and postage costs skyrocketed and the cost to create and mail four issues in one year cost the organization over $60,000. Financially, we knew we could not keep this kind of production up nor could we continue to sustain the cost of publishing four issues every year and thus started to discuss ways that we could continue to produce The Informer without breaking the bank. Thanks to technology (or perhaps, blame technology), The Informer transitioned from a print-only publication to a PDF version that was printed on CD-roms and distributed much more efficiently and cost effectively. This one act saved the publication and reduced annual production costs by more than 75% per year. However, this change from a printed magazine to one that could only be viewed on a computer was not well received by everyone; a good number of GNI’s members did not have computers nor did they want to read The Informer on computers for any number of reasons. In GNI’s attempt to save the publication from extinction by offering an alternative format, The Informer suffered greatly and readership declined. Furthermore, since GNI’s quarterly publication was a benefit of membership, only active members in GNI’s database in any given quarter had access to read it; there was no other outreach to nonmembers or e-mail contacts until 2011 when Rick Johnson, GNI’s Executive Director, created the first issue of The Gay Naturist E-former. He created the E-former as a proof-of-concept to reach inactive members, e-mail contacts, and start posting issues on social media to widen the audience that GNI wanted to reach.
Presently, all of the issues from 2000 – 2013 of The Gay Naturist Informer (when the publication was finally retired for a smaller, more frequent publication (The GNI E-former)), are archived online in the member’s-only section of the GNI Member Directory. Access to back issues is available only to current GNI members only; inactive members and e-mail contacts do not have access to read them. (Right there is a good reason to join or renew your membership!)
GNI is in possession of back issues that predate 2000 and will be working on digitizing them and bringing them online for members to view. This is an extensive project and will take some time, but we want to make them available to everyone because they are a big part of our history. How times have changed. Just wait to you see issues from over 20 years ago!