Wednesday, June 24, 2015

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

What’s happening at your publication? Let us know. Email editor Fred Kuhr at editor@presspassq.com.

SIDNEY ABBOTT, a longtime New York City-based activist and co-author of the 1971 book, “Sappho Was a Right-On Woman: A Liberated View of Lesbianism,” died on April 15, 2015, in a house fire in Suffolk County, N.Y. She was 77.

Tracy Baim
TRACY BAIM, publisher and executive editor of Chicago’s WINDY CITY TIMES, is author of the new book, “BARBARA GITTINGS: Gay Pioneer,” the first full-length biography of the woman who has been called the mother of the gay rights movement.

STEVE BLANCHARD stepped down as editor of Orlando, Fla.-based WATERMARK as of May 15, 2015. After 10 years with the newspaper, Blanchard is now the media relations coordinator for the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, a cancer research hospital.

FRONTIERS, based in Los Angeles, entered its 34th year of publication with its April 30-May 13, 2015, issue.

GAY PARENT MAGAZINE, based in Forest Hills, N.Y., published its 100th issue with its May/June 2015 issue.

WILLIAM B. KELLEY, writer and editor of the newsletter of Mattachine’s Midwest chapter, died in his sleep on May 17, 2015. The longtime Chicago-based LGBT activist leaves behind his partner of 36 years, CHEN K. OOI. He was 72.

Michael K. Lavers
MICHAEL K. LAVERS, a reporter for the WASHINGTON BLADE since 2012, was named the newspaper’s first international news editor. The new position was created in recognition of the newspaper’s growing focus on LGBT issues worldwide.

THE MONTROSE STAR, based in Houston, Tex., entered its sixth year of publication with its April 8, 2015, issue.

ROBERT MOORE, co-founder and former publisher of the DALLAS VOICE, was a winner of the Press Club in Dallas’ Excellence in Journalism Award — North Texas Legends. Awards were given out at a May 21, 2015, ceremony.

MULTIMEDIA PLATFORMS WORLDWIDE, publisher of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based FLORIDA AGENDA, has issued a Letter of Intent to acquire New York City-based NEXT MAGAZINE from RND PUBLICATIONS.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 17
Issue 3

New data shows LGBT buying power continuing to grow

by Chuck Colbert

Newly released data and analysis by Washington, D.C.-based Witeck Communications estimates that America’s LGBT buying power for 2014 was $884 billion — up from $830 billion a year ago and $790 billion in 2012.

In releasing the latest projection, Bob Witeck, president and founder of Witeck Communications, said, “Buying power estimates help paint one snapshot of the overlooked economic contributions made by America’s diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender households in our dynamic economy.”

Witeck Communications specializes in strategic public relations and marketing communications for corporate and non-profit clients.

At the same time, Witeck emphasized, “Buying power is not the same as wealth. In fact, there is no evidence that same-sex households or LGBT people are more affluent or, on average, earn more than others. Economists confirm that is a stereotype, as academic research strongly suggests that gay men appear likely to earn slightly less than their heterosexual counterparts, for instance, and that LGBT populations of color particularly face many job and earnings barriers.”

In distinguishing buying power from wealth, Witeck specifically cited the work of the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Center and the National Center for Transgender Equality that document regrettably higher incidence of bias and economic disparity faced by transgender adults. “Time and again, studies show that transgender people face unacceptably high rates of discrimination in all areas of life, especially in employment and health care,” he said.
  
Disposable personal income – also known as buying power – is the amount of money that individuals (or households) have available to spend and save after paying taxes and pension contributions to the government, which is roughly 86 percent of income.

"LGBT buying power is an economic marker that helps benchmark America’s diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community," said Justin Nelson, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) co-Ffounder and president, in a press release. "At NGLCC, we have more than 150 corporate partners that understand not only the value of the LGBT dollar, but the economics of inclusivity and loyalty."

Witeck cautioned not to oversimplify the LGBT economy and marketplace. “The accelerating movement towards marriage equality, the rising tide of public opinion, and changing federal and state laws help address some of the longstanding discriminatory burdens that LGBT people and same-sex couples face today,” he said. “On the other hand, LGBT Americans and our allies still must address critical nondiscrimination safeguards under law, repair costly tax inequities, put right a complex set of inadequate relationship and parental rights, and dismantle barriers to public safety net programs that other married couples and their families today enjoy.” 
  
Based on a diverse range of LGBT population estimates, and by evaluating more than a hundred online population samples conducted by the expert Harris Poll for more than a decade, the 2014 estimate reflects roughly six percent to seven percent of the adult U.S. population as willing to self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender, which is roughly 16 million-plus adults — 18 years of age and older — in 2014.

Moreover, Witeck said that social science tends to be more conservative, and suggests slightly lower population targets. Nonetheless, demographers also acknowledge that a significant proportion of the LGBT population remains hidden not merely from public view but also resistant to many traditional, investigatory methods. 
  
The general approach used for estimating buying power also reflects the accepted path applied by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia in its calculation of the purchasing power of populations such as Hispanics, Asian Americans and African Americans. This methodology uses national aggregate disposable income data that are compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce and are, therefore, considered the most authoritative picture of overall purchasing power in the United States. LGBT purchasing power is understood by estimating a proportion of aggregate disposable personal income to the population range of LGBT self-identified adults.

All of which is to say, the buying power of LGBT people provides an opportunity for LGBT media. 

“Buying power grows each year,” Witeck said in an interview, “because our population is growing and the economy is growing” and “therefore more people are reachable, and of course, more people, especially younger ones, are coming out. Gay media will find a growing cross-section of audiences who are more comfortable and confident.”

In addition, Witeck said, “I believe the gay marketplace and readership have transformed. It’s a millennial audience as well.” 

Accordingly, he said, “Gay media can connect with younger people very well, who are so often beyond labels. They’re interested and have shown engagement in our lives, our community, and our events, [such as] gatherings, concerts, theatre performances, festivals, sporting events, and Pride events — all are shaping up to be truly inclusive and to engage diverse consumers and families. In other words, our lives, our events are welcoming and receptive to people of all backgrounds. I think of it as the ‘PFLAG effect.’” 

In attracting a younger audience, Witeck said, “Gay media is a trusted channel to educate them and also show millennials new windows on entertainment and involvement.”

Better yet, with a growing economy, “The reach to the advertising base is changing,” Witeck said. For example, “In local markets there are many more venues and retailers who find it important to connect with gay readers because they are among the most avid, viral connectors. Gay people, I have seen, tend to index higher in promoting newer products and sharing experiences in all forms of social media. I think that alone makes it clear that marketers want to educate gay readers about what they are doing. They want to show that their shop, their restaurant, their bar, their club — whatever they are opening or doing — doesn’t have to be intended only for a gay following, but it has to be one that offers originality and style. And with the sunset of many gay bars, it will be important for other nightspots to identify ways to make themselves engaged, accepting, inviting to LGBT people, too." 

Altogether, a growing economy, increased buying power and a changing audience “all seem to work to our advantage,” said Witeck. “Gay media, if they are smart, will be able to figure out that it’s all about sustaining and supporting your loyal audience, not losing them, and learning ways to expand to others.”

TOP STORY
Volume 17
Issue 3

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Boston Spirit Magazine

Interview with Publisher David Zimmerman
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: Boston and surrounding area

Year founded: 2005 

Staff size and breakdown [writers, sales reps., etc.]: Publisher, art director, editor in chief, managing editor, lifestyle editor, advertising sales representative, and freelance writers
  
Average page count: 100

Key demographics: Mainly 30-60 years old; 55 percent male, 45 percent female

Print run: 20,000


*****

Press Pass Q: What part of Boston Spirit magazine is the most popular?

Publisher David Zimmerman: We get a tremendous amount of compliments on the magazine. People seem to really like our people profiles, event photos, and in-depth features. Our events have also done really well. We have an LGBT Executive Networking Night that attracts approximately 1,000 attendees each spring and our annual Summer Sunset Cruise gets about 700 onboard. In January of this year, we also held a “Top 25 LGBT Power Players of New England” gala that was a complete sellout.

PPQ: Who came up with the name and what is the inspiration for it?

Zimmerman: I came up with the name after doing a thesaurus search for the word “pride.” The name “Boston Spirit” gives off a positive, uplifting feeling.

PPQ: What challenge has your publication had to overcome over the past few years?

Zimmerman: Well, like everyone else, it was tough when the economy crashed. Advertising was down everywhere. We also launched in the market as complete unknowns, that was really hard. At the beginning we would hear, "Boston Spirit? Never heard of it,” all the time. We had to work very, very hard on branding, visibility, and credibility. More recently, the challenge is always remaining fresh and relevant, coming up with new and exciting ideas so we don't get stale.

PPQ: What challenges are you facing right now?

Zimmerman: These days we are trying to improve our online experience and social media. The magazine is doing well and our events are doing well, but we want to make sure we are able to round out our portfolio. We also spend time trying to come up with new and fun events for our readers. We are always very cognizant of moving the ball forward. We don't want to produce the same product year after year. 

PPQ: How has Boston Spirit changed since it was first launched?

Zimmerman: Our events have really grown a lot. When we started there was no LGBT Executive Networking Night. Now we get 1,000 people each spring. In Boston, and other places, the corporate world has really embraced diversity and inclusion in the last few years and we have tried to tie into that growth. Our event calendar has really improved since we first started.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make?

Zimmerman: I would like to expand our footprint throughout New England. We have a great subscriber base in Massachusetts, and I think we can be a stronger regional magazine and make a greater impact on the other New England states.

PPQ: Do you see yourself as an “activist journalist”? If so, in what way?

Zimmerman: Yes and no. Because the magazine is published six times per year, we tend to focus more on larger feature stories versus the big news of the day. Some of those features might have an “activist” theme, but if they do it is only by coincidence.  We approach a story because we feel it is a good story that our readers will appreciate, not just to “make waves.”

PPQ: What's the most surprising feedback you've received from a reader?

Zimmerman: We had a gentleman on the cover of the magazine several years ago. Shortly after the issue was published, I saw him at an event. He told me that another gentleman recognized him from the cover and they struck up a conversation. They wound up getting engaged after dating for a while. We also did a story on a transgender inmate who had sued the state of Massachusetts to pay for gender reassignment surgery.  After that story ran, I had a reader call me a “sick son of a bitch.”

PPQ: What is the biggest story Boston Spirit has reported?

Zimmerman: We got an exclusive one-on-one interview with Michelle Kosilek for an article we ran in March 2014. Kosilek is [the above-mentioned] transgender inmate who was convicted of murdering her wife about 30 years ago. Kosilek sued, saying the state should pay for her gender reassignment surgery — and she won, and has won several appeals. That story generated a lot of interest and feedback. We also ran a story several years ago regarding Mitt Romney when he was running for president. The story was about a meeting that took place when Romney was governor of Massachusetts. He met with several same-sex couples who were trying to educate him on marriage equality. He was extremely rude to them. The story was incredible and got picked up in dozens of other media outlets. It appeared on Boston.com and received more than 30,000 shares.

PPQ: What advice do you have for others working in LGBT media?

Zimmerman: Look outside of LGBT media for ideas and inspiration. Look at what successful B-to-B publications are doing, successful mainstream publications. Don’t get stuck inside just the LGBT world. Some of the best ideas we’ve had have come from the strangest places. I am big on the idea that if you are doing the same thing you were doing five years ago, you're in trouble.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 17
Issue 3

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

OutSports’ Cyd Zeigler to be honored for groundbreaking coverage

by Chuck Colbert

The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) will honor Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of OutSports.com, with its 2015 Lisa Ben Award on June 25 at a Los Angles fundraiser.

The Lisa Ben Award for Achievement in Feature Coverage was established to honor a journalist whose body of work is distinguished by insight and impact through engaging features on LGBT individuals, the LGBT community, or LGBT issues. It bears the pen name of Edith Eyde, the creator and distributor of the first known U.S. lesbian publication and the inaugural winner of the award in 2014.

Cyd Zeigler,
co-founder of OutSports.com
Like Eyde, Zeigler identified an area of LGBT life that was largely uncovered by mainstream media and provided a service to the community. Together with co-founder Jim Buzinski, Zeigler has grown OutSports.com, founded in 1999, into a must-read for stories of LGBT athletes and sports issues and broadened the general public’s understanding of LGBT people in sport. He is credited with breaking several coming out stories involving now well-known athletes like retired NBA player John Amaechi and retired NFL player Wade Davis. OutSports was purchased by Vox Media in 2013, incorporating it into the sports website SB Nation.

“Cyd Zeigler’s such an important pioneer when it comes to telling the real story about the LGBT community and sports," said, NLGJA president Jen Christensen. "There’s a reason LGBT athletes come to him first with their stories. Our community is so lucky to have such an able hand steering this important narrative for both current LGBT athletes and for future pros who will now know that they can have some confidence that they can be out as there have been others before them."

Reached by telephone, Zeigler said that when he and Buzinski started writing about LGBT people in sports, “Nobody wanted to talk about it.” That is to say, “Gay people didn’t want to talk about sports, and people in sports didn’t want to talk about LGBT issues,” Zeigler explained. “Today that is totally transformed, and it seems as if OutSports has been at the center of closing the gap between those two worlds. Today I go to gay parties where people are talking about sports, and people in sports media want to talk about gay issues all the time.”

“One of the most powerful pieces for me has been the athletes reaching out to me to tell their stories, and being able to craft the coming out of so many people,” he said, naming college basketball player Derrick Gordon, professional football player Michael Sam and Stephen Alexander. The latter is the country’s first openly transgender high school coach, in Glocester, R.I.

“These stories have been so impactful to me, and I feel lucky to have been able to write them,” Zeigler said. Receiving the Ben Award, he said, “is a nice acknowledgment of the contributions to making that happen.”

A former associate editor of the New York Blade and sports editor for Genre magazine, Zeigler has written for a number of news outlets including Sports Illustrated and the New York Times and has appeared on ESPN, FOX Sports Radio, and CNN. He is a regular contributor on CBS Sports Radio. He is the co-author with Buzinski of “The Outsports Revolution: Truth and Myth in the World of Gay Sports.”

A Massachusetts native, Zeigler is a 1995 graduate of Stanford University where he studied communications. He also contributes to The Huffington Post, Out magazine, Playboy, and The Advocate.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 17
Issue 3

Phoenix’s Echo Magazine goes from biweekly to monthly

by Chuck Colbert

Echo Magazine formally announced that, after publishing 26 issues a year for the past 25 years, the publication would transition into a monthly format with the magazine hitting newsstands on the third Thursday of every month. The change took effect on April 23.

“Readers and advertisers will notice the positive effects of going monthly immediately,” said Bill Gemmill, Echo’s associate publisher, in the pages of his magazine. “We’re cutting ad rates and improving content to offer a more distinctive product to our audience.” We’ve studied all angles of the industry, and it’s time for us to regain our competitive edge in print, while catering to our website and social media audiences, too. Stay tuned for a bigger, better, longer Echo Magazine in the coming months.”
Bill Gemmill,
Echo's associate publisher

Reached by phone, Gemmill said, “The motivation to go monthly was a financial one and one for our advertisers. Our advertisers were saying, ‘You are a tabloid, not a magazine, so our ad is lasting only two weeks. And by the way, we won’t be advertising with you.’ That was the number one reason to go monthly.”

Additionally, “The other magazines that were monthly were selling underneath us saying, ‘Echo is two times as much because it comes out twice a month. So we have to pay twice as much to be in Echo compared to our publication.’”

Gemmill said the transition to a monthly format has gone “very well,” with “some of our readers not aware we were no longer publishing twice a month.”

To supplement the new monthly format, the Echo team invites readers to stay in touch via social media by liking Echo Magazine on Facebook, following @EchoMagAZ on Twitter, and by using #EchoMagAZ.

Gemmill said Echo prints between 16,000 and 18,000 copies of the magazine during the spring, fall, and winter months and between 9,000 and 11,000 during the summer. There are 180 distribution points in the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area, and 20 distribution locations outside Phoenix (Tucson and Flagstaff, for example) and two in Palms Spring, he said.

The publication’s website, Echomag.com, contains all the magazine’s current local news, web-exclusive content, photo galleries, community resources, and a community calendar for LGBT events. The publication’s Echogram is an email newsletter.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 17
Issue 3

Washington Blade takes on gay Washington Post columnist over disgraced 'Downton Abbey' congressman

by Chuck Colbert

A Washington Post columnist, who is gay, created a bit of a stir earlier this year in defending Aaron Schock, a former Illinois congressman who resigned over a controversy about his use of federal funds amidst speculation that Schock is gay.

Schock has drawn attention to himself in what may be considered a stereotypically gay manner — pink shorts, a six-pack-abs photo on the cover of Men’s Fitness magazine, and a male traveling companion (an aide), not to mention his lavish expenditure on a “Downton Abbey”-style redecoration of his congressional office.  Oddly enough, Schock had an anti-gay voting record.

Disgraced former Congressman
Aaron Schock
Writing in his “Civilities” column under the headline “Please stop pink bating Aaron Schock,” Steven Petrow wrote, “Why, then, do I react so strongly to anyone making assumptions about Schock’s sexuality based on these stereotypes? Here’s one reason: an eighth-grader named Larry King, whom I reported on years ago. His Oxnard, Calif., middle school classmates tormented him. ‘Hey, you, gay kid, you want to wear lipstick?’ one of Larry’s friends told the Los Angeles Times, recalling the taunts. Another said: ‘You’d hear, “Faggot! Hey, faggot!” That was happening in every class.’ It only got worse as Larry started to wear makeup and girls’ boots with his school uniform. Then he allegedly flirted with a classmate — who came to school one morning and fatally shot the 15-year-old twice in the head. That’s why I care — because those who are, or who are even suspected of being LGBT, are far and away the people most likely to be the victims of violent hate crimes.

“If all it takes is a pink shirt or eye makeup to start the gay innuendo, then no one is really safe. It’s bad enough when the ‘haters’ use stereotypes to justify bullying and violence against LGBT people, or even non-gay youths who simply flout gender conventions. When those winks and quips come from within our own community, what kind of message are we sending?”

But Kevin Naff, editor of the Washington Blade, would have none of it. Writing under the headline, “Shame on Wash Post for defending Schock, attacking LGBT media,” Naff wrote, “As a longtime member of the LGBT media, I reject Petrow’s inane criticism and dare him to use his access and platform to write something substantive about these issues. As a journalist, he should know better than to attack the messenger.

“Closeted public officials and public figures should have no place to hide. From Anderson Cooper to Jodie Foster to Ken Mehlman, we’ve seen the damage the closet does and the good that comes from opening the door and living an honest life. Now that he’s out of Congress and free of the Republican Party’s homophobic influences, maybe Schock will finally come out. But the public ought to have no sympathy for this fraud, who misused taxpayer and campaign donor funds to pay for a lavish lifestyle he can’t afford. He resigned only to bring an end to the congressional inquiries, which surely would have found more misdeeds. He’s not a victim and is undeserving of the Post’s and Petrow’s misplaced sympathies.”

Since Schock’s resignation on March 17, he has made no public acknowledgment of being gay.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 17
Issue 3

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

What’s happening at your publication? Let us know. Email editor Fred Kuhr at editor@presspassq.com.

ECHO MAGAZINE, based in Phoenix, Arizona, switched from a bimonthly to a monthly publication schedule with its May 2015 issue.

GEORGIA VOICE, based in Atlanta, entered its sixth year of publication with its March 20, 2015, issue.

GO! MAGAZINE, based in New York City, entered its 14th year of publication with its April/May 2015 issue.

PRESS PASS Q, the only trade publication for professionals working in LGBT media, entered its 17th year of publication in April 2015.

UNITE NASHVILLE celebrated its second anniversary in its March/April 2014 issue.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 17
Issue 2