Thursday, July 25, 2019

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

ADELANTE, based in Los Angeles, entered its 23rd year of publication with its June 2019 issue.

CHARLES ALEXANDER, artist and longtime columnist for Livonia, Mich.-based BETWEEN THE LINES, suffered a stroke in late May 2019. He is recuperating.

TRACY BAIM, co-founder of Chicago’s WINDY CITY TIMES and currently publisher of the CHICAGO READER, was honored on May 22 for her 35 years in the LGBTQ press. The event was a fundraiser for Windy City Times.

DALLAS VOICE celebrated its 35th anniversary in its May 10, 2019, issue.

GAY CITY NEWS, based in New York City, was among the honorees at the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City’s annual event on May 23, 2019.

GET OUT, based in New York City, celebrated its 10th anniversary in its June 12, 2019, issue.

GED, also known as the GAY ENTERTAINMENT DIRECTORY and based in Long Beach, Calif., entered its seventh year of publication with its June 2019 issue.

Fay Jacobs
GRAB MAGAZINE, based in Chicago, celebrated its 10th anniversary in its June 25, 2019, issue.

FAY JACOBS, editor of Rehoboth Beach, Del.-based LETTERS FROM CAMP REHOBOTH, has been named one of THE ADVOCATE’s 2019 Champions of Pride.

NLGJA: THE ASSOCIATION OF LGBTQ JOURNALISTS announced the recipients of its 2019 EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM AWARDS. Winners from LGBTQ media include:
EVA BERLIN SYLVESTRE of GEORGIA VOICE for Excellence in Feature Writing, Non-Daily;
EMILY STARBUCK GERSON of INTO for Excellence in Long Form Journalism;
ADRIANA FRASER of PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS for Excellence in Newswriting, Non Daily;
MARK CHESTNUT of PASSPORT MAGAZINE for Excellence in Travel Writing;
MARK S. KING of POZ for Excellence in Opinion/Editorial Writing; and
GABRIEL SILVERMAN, FIONA DAWSON and JAMES COUGHLIN of LOGO TV for Excellence in Documentary.

PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS won eight KEYSTONE PRESS AWARDS this year, sponsored by the PENNSYLVANIA NEWSMEDIA ASSOCIATION. The newspaper won top donors in the categories of investigative reporting, news, ongoing news coverage, news beat reporting, news photo, photo story/essay, and diversity, for Division V (weekly publications with a circulation over 10,000). Staffers honored included TIMOTHY CWIEK, SCOTTY DRAKE, JEN COLLETTA and KRISTEN DEMILLO.

QSALTLAKE, based in Salt Lake City, celebrated its 15th anniversary in its May 24, 2019, issue.

THE WASHINGTON BLADE was honored by the D.C. chapter of the SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS for reporting and opinion writing at its annual Dateline Awards competition. Senior reporter LOU CHIBBARO JR. won first place in the category of Non-Breaking News. International news editor MICHAEL K. LAVERS won first place in the Editorial/Opinion Writing category. He was also a finalist in the Non-Breaking News category. Features editor JOEY DIGUGLIELMO was named a finalist in the Features category.

WINDY CITY TIMES, based in Chicago, held its annual 30 Under 30 Awards on June 26, 2019. The awards are coordinated by managing editor MATT SIMONETTE.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 21
Issue 4

Covering the first out gay prez candidate: Is it too much?

by Joe Siegel

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., and the first openly gay man to run for president of the United States, has received widespread media coverage for his historic campaign. But are LGBTQ media outlets giving him preferential treatment just because he’s gay?

Andrew Davis, publisher of Chicago’s Windy City Times, believes Buttigieg’s status as a gay candidate justifies “additional coverage in an LGBT publication,” yet notes the paper’s coverage of Buttigieg has been objective.

The Windy City Times published a May 21 story about the homelessness problem in South Bend: "The mayor has not pushed for anything that we see to help the homeless problem here in the community," said John Shafer, who heads and co-founded the South Bend-based nonprofit Michiana Five for the Homeless. "If nothing else, he's aggravated the problem, and the city just continues to harass the homeless.”

Frank Pizzoli, editor of the Central Voice in Pennsylvania, believes the large amount of coverage of Buttigieg is justified.

“With 24 Democratic Party presidential candidates, our coverage reflects who’s at the top of the list,” Pizzoli said. “Buttigieg is performing well.”

Buttigieg’s support from members of the LGBTQ community has also been discussed in the paper’s reporting. In the most recent issue of the newspaper, Pizzoli ran an articled headlined “Would you vote for Buttigieg because he’s gay?” 

In that article, “Three local, openly gay individuals who are involved in politics and who’ve met Buttigieg through The Victory Fund — two are elected officials and one is a Democratic Party officer on both the state and county level — were asked if they’d vote for him because he’s gay,” Pizzoli said. “With their responses, we also ran what Buttigieg himself said about ‘identity politics,’ in an articled headlined, “Identity politics ‘doesn’t get us very far.’”

Tammye Nash, managing editor of the Dallas Voice, agrees that the large amount of Buttigieg coverage in the LGBTQ press is warranted. “Obviously, Buttigieg’s candidacy is an historic moment for our community, and he is going to get attention in the LGBTQ press, and I do think it is possible — even likely — that he does have a bit of an advantage when it comes to getting attention in the LGBTQ media simply because he is the first openly LGBTQ candidate for president to be even remotely viable. And I think he deserves extra coverage from LGBTQ media because of all the ‘firsts’ he has and will accomplish.”

Nash also doesn’t feel other candidates will be cheated out of coverage due to Buttigieg’s special status. “I think most of the editors and publishers in our community media are professional enough to give fair coverage to other candidates as well — at least, other viable candidates,” she said. “I think there will certainly be lots of outlets at least doing comparison pieces, seeing how the LGBT-friendly candidates stack up against the LGBT candidate on LGBT issues.”

“We are working on interviews and profiles of as many of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates as we can,” added Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff. “We have so far interviewed and profiled Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg, and featured them both on the Blade cover. Buttigieg is getting more coverage in the Blade by virtue of being gay but not preferential treatment. We have not endorsed him and have covered some of the South Bend controversies that he's faced.”

TOP STORY
Volume 21
Issue 4

Washington Blade among media to see ICE unit for trans detainees

by Fred Kuhr

In a historic first, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) allowed reporters to see first-hand the unit at privately-run immigrant detention center specially set up for transgender women in custody. And a member of the LGBTQ press was included in the media group.

Michael K. Lavers 
Michael K. Lavers, international editor of the Washington Blade, was invited alongside reporters from the Associated Press, Univision and El Paso, Texas, TV station KFOX. They toured the unit, located at the Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, N.M., (80 miles west of Albuquerque) on June 12.

The reporters were accompanied by at least six officials from ICE and the local correctional system.

According to Lavers’ reporting, 27 trans women were in the unit on the day of the tour.

The trans unit was opened in 2017, according to the Blade, after ICE’s contract with the Santa Ana Jail in Orange County, Calif., which had a similar united for trans detainees, ended. Up to 60 detainees can be held at the current facility at any one time.

In a June 21 story in the Blade, Lavers details the unit’s attorney visitation rooms, videoconference rooms, sleeping areas with bunkbeds, an outdoor recreation area, a medical unite, and a beauty salon.

Posters, in both English and Spanish, carried messages such as “ICE has zero-tolerance for sexual abuse” and “I have a right to be treated fairly, regardless of my sexual orientation or gender identity.”

In a follow-up story published July 15, Lavers reports that the Blade was provided with a copy of a handwritten letter (in Spanish) signed by 29 transgender women being held at the facility (as of the letter’s date of June 26). The letter was given to the Blade by Phoenix-based Trans Queer Pueblo, which advocates for the rights of undocumented LGBTQ immigrants.

According to Lavers, the letter says there is not “adequate” medical attention to “treat people with disabilities, people with HIV, skin infections” and there is “a lack of medications for many” trans women. The letter also states Cibola County Correctional Center staffers “psychologically and verbally” mistreat them. “We are afraid of reprisals, but [we are] more afraid to be in this situation,” the letter states.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 21
Issue 4

SFGN editor criticizes his own newspaper

by Fred Kuhr

Newspapers often face criticism from readers. In this instance, however, the reader was Wilton Manors-based South Florida Gay News’ own editors. And the newspaper gladly published the criticism.

Sean McShee, SFGN’s HIV editor, took issue with the main headline on the cover of the newspaper’s May 8 issue, which read, “Loyal Lovers Live Longer.”

But according to McShee, the headline was misleading and obscured the importance of a recent HIV study.
Sean McShee

“The study did not show that ‘loyal lovers lived longer.’ It showed that undetectable equals untransmittable,” McShee wrote in a critique published in SFGN’s May 29 issue. “When antiretrovirals suppress HIV, current health is maintained, and transmission becomes impossible. The study said nothing about ‘loyalty,’ or monogamy. The problem lies in the main headline, not in the story.”

The original story reported on a Lancet article about an eight-year study that examined, among other things, 782 mixed-status gay male couples. The viral load was suppressed in all of the HIV-positive partners. Of the HIV-negative partners, 15 acquired HIV. However, when you compare the strains of HIV, there was no evidence of transmission within the relationship.

Researchers “inferred sexual contact outside the relationship,” wrote McShee. “The article had no data about whether the couples had open or closed relationships. If they had an open relationship, ‘loyalty’ becomes an irrelevant concept.”

“This study provided more strong support for the Undetectable = Untransmittable movement,” he added. “The larger headline stressed a side issue that the study did not address.”

Norm Kent, SFGN’s publisher, noted that he had no problem printing McShee’s critique. “SFGN is open to criticism from anyone, anytime, anyplace, even our own writers,” said Kent. “We're a community newspaper and your voices will be heard.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 21
Issue 4

Twin Cities Pride launches quarterly magazine

by Joe Siegel

Twin Cities Pride Magazine is now serving the Minneapolis/St. Paul LGBTQ population on a quarterly basis.

The magazine was first published in 2018 by the city’s pride organization in conjunction with Gray Duck Media as a Pride Guide, with the intent of only publishing annually.

But according to John Garland, creative director of Gray Duck Media, the time was perfect for Twin Cities Pride to launch its own magazine.

“The first line of Twin Cities Pride’s mission statement concerns ‘documenting their diverse heritage,’” said Garland. “They were wrestling with the fact that most people only know them from the two days of Pride Weekend, and yet they’re a year-round organization that hosts and sponsors all kinds of events that strive to reach and represent an incredibly diverse and vibrant community.”

A few years ago, Twin Cities Pride was considering the idea of printing their Pride Guide materials — stage schedules, performer directory, event calendar, guide to the park and the parade — on their own, Garland said. The organization then approached Gray Duck Media about the feasibility of such a publication. (Gray Duck Media has been publishing The Growler, a mainstream lifestyle monthly, since 2012.)

“We offered the suggestion that there would be a great opportunity to go beyond the two-day utility of a Pride Guide and publish something that helps further their organizational mission,” Garland noted.

Garland believes the new publication will possess its own identity while competing with rival Lavender Magazine: “Lavender has been a great publication in the Twin Cities for many years, and we see our missions as very much complimentary. As Lavender has evolved, their content is now geared toward a more established community.”

Garland believes Twin Cities Pride Magazine will reach a demographic which has been overlooked by most LGBTQ media outlets. “Our stories are about folks struggling with questions of identity and giving voice to the struggle, and organizations working to solve the unique issues faced by LGBTQ+ people in new and innovative ways,” Garland said. “We also believe that media in general does a poor job of representing people of color and trans voices, among many other marginalized communities, and we hope Twin Cities Pride Magazine can be one small step toward a more inclusive media landscape.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 21
Issue 4

GUEST COMMENTARY: Mayor Pete shouldn’t ignore LGBTQ media

by Norm Kent
(Norm Kent is the publisher of Wilton Manors-based South Florida Gay News. This editorial was published in the June 26, 2019, issue of the newspaper, opposite a page that was blank except for the headline, “An SFGN Interview with Mayor Pete.”)

Pete Buttigieg’s candidacy for the Oval Office has exceeded national expectations. While garnering a massive amount of media attention, he has continued to rise in the polls and draw interest as he develops a viable candidacy.

Given the fact that he is a gay man, so too has our paper devoted a significant amount of editorial space to his presidential run. Twice, in fact, he has been on our front page.

It stands to reason that SFGN would want to do an interview with him leading into his first visit to South Florida. After all, we are not only the only LGBT newspaper in this region, we happen to be as large a gay weekly as there is in this country that Mr. Buttigieg wants to govern.

Now, I understand he has time constraints. I recognize he is busy. I accept the fact that his schedule is set in advance, and he perhaps had no time for a sit down interview this week.

“OK,” I said, “how about a phone in, while he is on his way here, from a plane, or train, or automobile.” 

Norm Kent
No time, his campaign said.

“OK,” I said, “how about if we text Mayor Pete some questions.” 

Nope, “next time,” they said.

Now, here’s the thing.

They found time for the straight media. They found time for WTVJ. They even sent a press release to the South Florida Gay News inviting us to publish their interview with Channel 6.

Stunning.

You can’t make this up.

The Mayor Pete campaign is still young and growing in stature. Experienced leaders are joining their team, and they will get better. But the truth is, without beating it into the ground, they are remarkably foolish and painfully incompetent.

The gay candidate, energizing the gay American community, ought to be actively reaching out and empowering the free American gay press, not turning it away. The strategy Mayor Pete’s team is employing is one of utter and sheer stupidity.

The National American Gay Media Association consists of about a dozen papers and publishers from the major metropolitan venues in America. We represent the voices and visions of LGBT Americans from coast to coast, with papers in Boston and New York, Atlanta and South Florida, Dallas and Detroit, San Fran and LA.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg
You get it. Pete does not. He has yet to reach out to us as a group. Astounding.

He should have probably had full-page ads in the Philadelphia Gay News, the Georgia Voice, Washington Blade, or even here. He has not. Consequently, I invite you to the adjacent page, where you will find a whole lot of white space. No, wait, let me not say that. Just say that I am running instead our complete interview with Mayor Pete. If you find his comments underwhelming, so do we. The Rhodes Scholar just could not fit us into his curriculum.

Nevertheless, Mayor Pete’s campaign found time to make it to Fort Lauderdale this past Monday to suck the gay community dry with a well-attended fundraiser at Revolution on East Broward Boulevard.

At least the place was once a gay bar, Backstreet, about 30 years ago. His campaign fit right in. The LGBT community was out in force.

Despite the journalistic slight, I felt obligated to cover this newsworthy event. Even nationally known drag queens at LIPS don’t draw this kind of a crowd on a weekday night. 

I showed up.

I weaved my way toward the registration table, encountered the campaign co-coordinator, and said a few hellos. That’s when I discovered that I was not “on the list.”

“Whoops,” “they” said, “Our mistake; this event is closed to the press.”

But wait, “they” were the ones who invited me.

I mean, this was no easy ticket. You had to decrypt a web site and get a magic code telling you where to go. Talking to an AT&T representative in Indonesia was easier.

“Our mistake,” they said, “but all is well, you can come in. You just have to pay.”

How nice of them.

No, that was not going to happen. I was going to cover a news event, not write a check out for a candidate. I would go broke in a month paying to go to every Democratic candidate’s fundraiser. They are up to about 387 people fighting for the nomination, right?

Credible and credentialed newspapers cannot, must not, and do not pay for the privilege of covering political rallies or candidates. But they must have an absolute right to do so.

If it was a fundraiser, and not a press event, they were negligent in asking me to come. You don’t turn me away at the door when I arrive.

Moronic, unless you are looking for a story like this. But as I said, the campaign is young and learning, very polite, but maybe equally inept.

My intention in covering this fundraiser was to do a story on the wealth of support our community showed this candidate with our pocketbooks. It seems huge.

If Mayor Pete is milking his gay connection in LGBT communities, then he has an obligation to be more responsive to its free press. He failed here.

Still, I want to be fair with SFGN’s readers. You can read my story about the Mayor Pete rally on the blank page adjacent to this editorial. They earned the coverage I gave them. Every word of it.

If SFGN’s interview is not thorough enough, you can read about Mayor Pete in all the mainstream publications. He certainly has found time for them.

One day, down the road, Mayor Pete, mired in a debate about sewers in a South Bend city commission meeting, will wistfully recall how he came to South Florida on a summer day in 2019. He may remember how he spoke passionately about the principles and programs he wants to champion as America’s next president; how responsive the crowd was. He may.

But when Mayor Pete gazes down upon his iPhone to scroll it up, he won’t be able to read about that day on www.sfgn.com. He did not have time for us.

GUEST COMMENTARY
Volume 21
Issue 4

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Montrose Star of Houston

Interview with Owner and Publisher Laura Villagran
by Joe Siegel

Year founded: 1976

Staff size and breakdown: Editor, copy editor, production manager, graphic designer and six contributing writers

Background: The Montrose Star went through several incarnations and, in the late 1970s, the paper became the Houston Voice. As the Houston Voice, the paper was a weekly publication through the '80s and ‘90s. It was purchased by Window Media, LLC, a national newspaper chain, that also owned the Washington Blade. In 2009 Window Media shut down its operations and ceased publication of the Houston Voice. McClurg, no longer with the Voice for some time, started a new publication called The Montrose G.E.M. (Gay Entertainment Magazine), but when the Voice shut down McClurg took back the former name, Montrose Star, and published once again under that name. In the fall of 2010, the publication was purchased by GLYP Media Company, publisher of the national Gay Yellow Pages.

Web site: www.MontroseStar.com

*****

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

Owner and Publisher Laura Villagran: The late community activist Henry McClurg named the publication in 1976, after the neighborhood where he lived and died.

Laura Villagran
PPQ: How has the publication changed since it was first launched?

Villagran: Our new focus is entertainment and entertainment news versus our previous political focus. 

PPQ: What one change would you like to make? 

Villagran: Include more women!

PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories Montrose Star has covered?

Villagran: I am most excited about the new Star Buds column which discusses the truth about cannabis and its benefits to humanity.

PPQ: On the Kinsey Scale of 0-6 (exclusively straight to totally gay), how gay is your publication?

Villagran: 5.5.

PPQ: What advice would you give to anyone who may want to launch their own LGBTQ publication?

Villagran: Be yourself and be true to yourself.

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 21
Issue 4