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Utah's first tablet-based magazine says it's OK to be 'Ugly'

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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City has a new magazine, but you can't buy it at the store, or have it delivered to your mailbox by subscription. It's Utah's first tablet- based magazine.

And it's called "Ugly."

So why name the magazine "Ugly"? Editor-in-Chief Shadna Aum said magazine racks are filled with prettier titles like "Allure", "Vogue" and "GQ", so why not a different approach to draw a little attention?

"But I really felt like there's nothing really wrong with being ugly," Aum said. "That's what I wanted the magazine to be about, that we're all beautiful people."

Ugly debuted just a couple of weeks ago, and, for now, is available as an iPad app. Other tablet versions will be available soon. Several hundred people have already downloaded it.

The magazine focuses on Salt Lake's art, music, fashion and cultural scene, and is produced by a variety of contributors.

"The majority of our contributors are just young professionals looking to build something new and innovative in the city," Aum said. "And there's just a ton of really, really great designers and artists that aren't getting enough exposure in the media."

As with other types of apps, you can get to Ugly's various features by tapping and swiping — it's totally interactive. In the music section, not only can you read about a local group, you can hear them, and watch them.

That's what I wanted the magazine to be about, that we're all beautiful people.

–Shadna Aum

Though Ugly's tablet-only approach is new here, the trend is picking up elsewhere due to the incredible growth of devices like the iPad. There are no printing or distribution costs, keeping overhead way down.

Really, not an ugly idea at all.

"I guess it's alternative, we're still new," Aum said. "We're not printing on paper, we're trying to be more tech savvy."

Ugly comes out quarterly and the app is free.


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Keith McCord


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