Local women pursue dream of creating inspirational magazine

Victoria Coit and Vanessa Campbell hope to launch "Salt of the Earth," or "S.O.T.E. Magazine," in a full website by the end of 2013.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its flavor, with what will it be made salty again?” This Bible verse, Matthew 5:13, is what inspired Victoria Coit and cofounder Vanessa Campbell to start Syracuse’s newest online women’s magazine, Salt of the Earth, or S.O.T.E.

Photo: Courtesy of Victoria Coit
Vanessa Campbell joined her life-long friend last November to help establish magazine's online presence.

“Like many of us, I was in my search of trying to figure out what I was put on this earth to do,” Coit said. “I’ve done a lot of different things, but I didn’t understand how they all connected until I had the spark of an idea about a magazine strictly for women that really spoke to a nontraditional way of healing, and has great information that relates to women.”

S.O.T.E.’s tagline is ‘wisdom of the unheard women,’ with articles from a variety of women, not just those who are experienced or professional writers. The lifestyle magazine covers health and fitness, business, fashion, dating and marriage, and cuisine. Some of the current articles explore ways to deal with depression and provide healthy recipes, such as kale and white bean soup. The editors are also planning to cover upcoming Syracuse Fashion Weekend in October.

Coit’s favorite section, and one of the main focuses of the magazine,. is profiling inspirational women in the community. “There are so many ‘she-roes’ in Syracuse, it’s ridiculous,” she said. As a longtime Syracuse resident, Coit uses the magazine as a platform to put the spotlight on all the incredible females in the area.

Coit was born in Loma Linda, Calif. After moving to Syracuse in her youth, she became extremely active in community initiatives. Her projects included advocating for a South Side grocery store where there was a lack of fresh food options, coordinating Food Day, and working with the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

Coit first conceived the idea for a magazine in the beginning of 2012. When she attended the Digital Undivided Media Journalism conference for minorities, she began to fine-tune the plan and bring it to life. “They kept saying 'you need a cofounder, you need a cofounder.' I was like ‘oh I’m good,’ but now I understand why they were saying that,” Coit said.

After hearing this advice, she prayed about whom she could entrust with her vision, and shortly after went to shoot photos at a CeCe Winans gospel concert with longtime friend Vanessa Campbell. She instantly knew it was a perfect match. “She’s strong where I am weak and vice versa,” Coit said. The duo launched the website in beta form last November. The full site is expected to be up and running by the end of 2013, and depending on feedback, Coit and Campbell are considering a quarterly print edition in the future.

Coit advised students who are interested in starting their own magazine to really research and understand how the publication is going to stand out in such a crowded marketplace. “The hardest part is honing into what your demographic is, what she looks like, what are her habits, interests, things of that nature...getting really clear on that,” Coit said. “At first we were catering to all women of all backgrounds from welfare to wealthy, but the more we did it, we were like, 'no who is she? Who is going to read this?' You have to get really clear on that.”

While S.O.T.E.’s main audience is women of color ages 25-45, Coit encourages Syracuse students to get involved as well. “We’re always in search of female writers that are passionate about writing about uplifting issues, empowerment, and covering things around the community,” she said.

Along with the magazine, Coit and Campbell have designed the S.O.T.E. writing workshop that will help women create a portfolio, take a headshot and hone the art of writing with a once-a-week class for 5 weeks. “We take women from the community that have an interest in writing, maybe they journal a lot or write poems, and we really just dig deep and get them on the right path for making writing another stream of income, making it more lucrative and getting them more exposure.”

If you’re interested in signing up for the workshop or writing for Salt of the Earth, contact Victoria Coit at Victoria@SOTEMagazine.com.

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