First full-colour entertainment magazine launched
Stabroek News
April 6, 2004

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Guyana's first full-colour local entertainment magazine, GEM (Guyana's Entertain-ment Magazine) launched its first bi-monthly publication in February with hopes of attracting local readers while setting a standard to rival foreign publications.

Venturing into the foreign- dominated entertainment magazine arena where Source feeds the hip-hop crazed readers, Mad has a satirical following, MAXIM sells sex appeal and Teen Beat grabs obsessed pop music fans; GEM is going local.

Launched one day before Republic celebrations kicked off in February, GEM dubbed its first publication, 'the Mashramani Issue'.

The issue provided a sneak peak into the 2004 mash camps, a flashback of Mash 2003 in pictures, and a one-on-one with Culture Minister Gail Teixeira, among other features.

GEM also sat down with the woman who would have been queen, Miss Guyana Universe 2004 second-runner-up, Michelle Armstrong. Had past Miss Guyana World queens, Olive Gopaul and Odessa Phillips not contested the pageant, Armstrong would have emerged victorious.

GEM splashed the hottest fashions across its pages for local in-style trendsetters.

The issue also featured the Iwokrama Rainforest Canopy Walkway, tips on dining out along with local recipes, a calendar of what's happening in and around the country and various other columns. GEM also captured in telling photographs the 2003 Kashif and Shanghai Football tournament in Linden.

Publisher Simeon Corbin told Stabroek News the local magazine was created to showcase the many accomplishments of Guyanese.

He said that every two months, GEM's constant goal will be to transcend race, politics, religion and class to provide candid coverage of people and events in Guyana and its diaspora.

Thought-provoking features, informative columns and a comprehensive calendar of events is the aim of future publications, according to Corbin.

"GEM is here to inform Guyanese and we are hoping to provide that package that will reach people. We [are] also here as that vehicle, that avenue where young writers will progress," the publisher said.

The brainchild of Corbin, GEM took two years before reaching fruition, mainly because of the search for a printing house. Corbin said GEM later collaborated with Caribbean Paper and Printed Products in Trinidad and Tobago.

GEM's editor Rhonda McPherson opined that Guya-nese are after reading material and entertainment news is where they will look. She said that there are things that could make very entertaining reading in this society that have remained untouched for too long.

According to the editor GEM is geared to bring a fresh, new perspective to local reading material, adding that people will still be entertained and informed, but in a more practical way.

McPherson said GEM is still in its early stages and the involvement of the readership is a critical component.

GEM's next issue will be out before the Easter weekend. Among the magazine's features will be a photo spread of the Mash 2004 celebrations, an interview with eight local male professionals and a look into the life of local designer Sonia Noel.