Sunday, November 27, 2016

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

THE ADVOCATE released its annual Year in Review issue on November 11, 2016, a retrospective look at a collection of events from this past year that have impacted our society in a variety of ways. For 2016, The Advocate dedicates the title of “People of the Year” to the heroes of Pulse and features Angel Colon, one of the survivors, on the cover of the December/January issue.

CAMP, based in Kansas City, Mo., launched its new website camp.lgbt in August 2016.

GO GUIDE, based in Iowa City, Iowa, published its premier issue earlier in the fall of 2016. Its newly launched website is GoGuideIowaCity.us.

HOTSPOTS' Scott Holland
SCOTT HOLLAND, associate publisher of Oakland Park, Fla.-based HOTSPOTS, was nominated at Miami’s Pink Flamingo Awards as Favorite Media Personality.

OUT Magazine celebrated its annual OUT100 Gala in New York City on November 10, 2016. The OUT100 print issue will be available on newsstands November 29, 2016. The annual list honors the year’s 100 most compelling LGBT individuals across entertainment, sports, politics, media and the arts, highlighting their impact and accomplishments. For 2016, the OUT100 cover stars include Entertainer of the Year Ellen DeGeneres, Artist of Year Tom Ford, Legend Tracey Norman and Breakout of the Year Javier Muñoz. In addition, this year’s portfolio pays tribute to the heroes of Pulse Nightclub and the record-breaking number of LGBTQ staff members at the White House, as well as out Olympians from the 2016 Rio Games. 

OUT & ABOUT NASHVILLE was certified as an LGBT Business Enterprise by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and its Nashville affiliate in September 2016. With its certification, the newspaper joins a handful of other local businesses in getting access to NGLCC resources as well as networking and educational opportunities.

THE PRIDE, based in Los Angeles, celebrated its first anniversary with its October 7, 2016, issue.

THE RAINBOW TIMES, based in Boston, celebrates the 10th anniversary of its soft launch version (online only) of the publication, back in November 2006. Ten years ago, The Rainbow Times launched its online website for the very first time out of Northampton, Mass. Now, the newspaper serves all of New England in print and reaches national and international readers through its website, its social media platform, and its events. Its audience has amassed almost 27 percent of its readers from POC communities and its coverage of these marginalized sub-cultures within the LGBT community, a fact that has been deemed critical to its success.

WINDY CITY TIMES, based in Chicago, entered its 32nd year of publication with its September 28, 2016, issue.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 18
Issue 8

OUT Magazine under fire for profile of gay member of the alt-right

by Joe Siegel

OUT Magazine, the glossy LGBT publication, has been slammed for running a profile of right-wing gay blogger Milo Yiannopoulos in a recent issue.

The story, titled “Send In the Clown: Internet Supervillain Milo Doesn’t Care That You Hate Him,” begins with a note from editor Aaron Hicklin:

It should not need saying that the views expressed by the subject of this piece in no way represent the opinions of this magazine, but in this era of social media tribalism, the mere act of covering a contentious person can be misinterpreted as an endorsement. If LGBTQ media takes its responsibilities seriously we can’t shy away from covering queer people who are at the center of this highly polarized election year, and we ask you to assess Milo Yiannopoulos, the focus of this profile, on his own words without mistaking them for ours.”

Writer Chadwick Moore described the openly gay Breitbart editor as an “alt-right crusader” and “professional mischief maker and provocateur.”

Moore continues by stating that Yiannopoulos’ opinions are so shocking that left-wingers and journalists are “left in the rubble” and “dumbfounded.”

The article also has photos of Yiannopoulos biting his lip, wearing clown makeup, and dressed in drag.

The backlash from members of the LGBT community was immediate.

Gay blogger Jon Adams tweeted, “OUT Magazine really equated Milo Yiannopoulos’ white supremacist bullshit to being an ‘internet super villain,’ like he’s The Riddler.”

Yianopoulos was banned from Twitter earlier this year after allegedly encouraging racial and sexual abuse directed at “Ghostbusters” and “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones.

Members of the LGBT media, including R.J. Aguiar, David Badash,  John M. Becker, Trish Bendix, Alex Berg, and Gabe Bergado issued a letter about the Yiannopoulos profile.

“The OUT Magazine profile of Milo Yiannopoulos is a serious problem,” the letter says. “It’s not because Yiannopoulos was mentioned, nor even because he was profiled. It’s because the profile negligently perpetuates harm against the LGBT community. We expect more from our colleagues.”

The letter continues: “The political climate right now is particularly toxic, and those of us who report on the LGBT community know firsthand what it’s like to be targeted by those who would oppress us, particularly those of us who have been attacked because of our race or gender identity. We stand apart from those who would sell out the community to promote this toxicity for clicks and profits.”

However, not everyone took offence at the OUT Magazine story.

Mark Segal, publisher of Philadelphia Gay News, lashed out at his colleagues in LGBT media for their criticism of OUT.

“What concerns me here is that this opposition to the story is close to censorship,” Segal wrote in PGN. “Should we only publish articles and interviews about ‘good’ people in our community with the ‘right’ positions?”

Segal believes people who are allied with enemies of LGBT rights need to be exposed for what they are.

“Yiannopoulos is an out gay man supporting Trump,” Segal noted. “He is the LGBT poster child of the alt-right. That makes him good copy! Our community needs to know that as well, as we need to show the people Yiannopoulos works with what we as a community think of him. Censoring him doesn’t do that, since he already has a megaphone from his perch at Breitbart, one of the most conservative media organizations in the country. … So out Yiannopoulos as the fool he is.”

TOP STORY
Volume 18
Issue 8

Indy publication The Word changes its name

by Joe Siegel

Indianapolis' The Word recently rebranded itself as The Eagle.

Managing Editor Rick Sutton explained the paper changed ownership last year and there were “multiple difficulties associated with that change.”

“When I came aboard and became an equity partner, I wanted the change to distinguish between current and former ownership,” Sutton noted.
So why change the title of the paper to The Eagle?

“I wanted a strong, bold name that reflected our mission,” Sutton explained.

In an August edition of The Word, Sutton announced his new role as managing editor and equity partner. 

Sutton said The Word would serve as an advocate for the LGBT community: “Sometimes that will be tough love. Sometimes it will be cheerleader. We will chronicle our community’s progress and challenges.”

“News stories won’t contain politically-slanted opinions. Columns will. And those columns will attempt to be broad-based,” Sutton wrote.

Currently, readers can access The Eagle through www.midwesteagle.com as well as its former website www.thegayword.com

Sutton said the two websites would remain for a while. “We're working on it. It will take time to fix,” he added.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 18
Issue 8

Philadelphia Gay News seeks records in unsolved trans murder

by Joe Siegel

Philadelphia Gay News (PGN) has open-records requests pending with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office regarding the unsolved 2002 murder of Nizah Morris, an African-American trans woman found with a fatal head wound after accepting a ride from a police officer.

Officer Elizabeth Skala gave the ride to Morris. Skala initiated a traffic stop while assigned to Morris, who was inebriated.

PGN currently has an open-records request with the District Attorney’s Office for a certified copy of its Morris 911 recordings. The paper contends the office hasn’t provided all responsive records in its possession.

In 2009, PGN gave an incomplete dispatch record for Skala’s traffic stop to the D.A.’s Office, hoping it could locate a complete record. PGN’s record doesn’t have a district-control number, priority level, initial time of occurrence or location.

Since 2013, the D.A.’s Office has submitted eight affidavits in the matter. Two indicate the agency doesn’t have any dispatch records for Skala’s traffic stop, one indicates the agency has a complete dispatch record for Skala’s traffic stop, and others indicate the agency has an incomplete dispatch record.

In May 2015, to reconcile the conflicting affidavits, PGN requested a certified copy of dispatch records from the D.A.’s Office. The D.A.’s Office didn’t conduct a new search. Instead, the agency said it already demonstrated that it doesn’t have any responsive records.

Last June, Common Pleas Judge Linda A. Carpenter ruled the D.A.’s Office certified PGN’s record as its only computer-aided dispatch record for Skala’s traffic stop. The D.A. certified the record in a February 2015 affidavit, according to Carpenter’s ruling.

The judge also ruled the D.A.’s Office has assumed “some custodial control” over the document, in light of the police department’s questionable handling of Morris records.

PGN said it supports Carpenter’s ruling, noting the D.A.’s Office is free to obtain assistance from state or federal investigators if the agency is concerned it certified a bogus record.

Earlier this month, the D.A.’s Office urged Commonwealth Court to decertify a computer-aided dispatch record associated with the Morris incident.

The computer-aided dispatch records request remains pending in Commonwealth Court, according to PGN reporter Tim Cweik.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 18
Issue 8

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Echo Magazine of Phoenix

Interview with Managing Editor KJ Philp
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area:
Arizona: Greater Phoenix Area, Flagstaff, Tucson, Sedona, Bisbee and Yuma
Nevada: Las Vegas
California: Palm Springs, Los Angeles and San Diego

Year founded: 1989

Staff size and breakdown: (writers, editors, designers, etc.):
Echo’s publisher, Bill Orovan, employs four full-time staff members (associate publisher, editor, director of sales and marketing, and senior graphics designer). Echo also employs between 20 and 25 independent contractors (freelance writers, photographers, delivery drivers and sales representatives).

Average page count: 84

Print run: 11,000 (average)

Website: echomag.com

*****

PPQ: What feature or features of Echo Magzine have been the most popular with readers?

Managing Editor KJ Philp: For more than a decade, Echo has hosted its Readers’ Choice Awards ceremony each April in conjunction with Phoenix Pride Week. These highly coveted awards serve as recognition of community favorites – categories ranging from individuals and organizations to entertainment and retail – as nominated and voted on by our readers. In 2016, Echo received more than 7,000 individual nominations, totalling 700 nominees, and 14,500 votes for more than 83 finalists. 

As part of LGBTQ History Month, Echo inducts “community heroes who have helped raise awareness and spark change on the local and national levels” into its Hall of Fame each October. Since the inaugural class in 2006, Echo has inducted 120 individuals into its Hall of Fame and, in recent years, has opened consideration up to include community nominations.

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

KJ Philp of Echo Magazine
Philp: "Echo states that we intend to be a reflection of the Arizona Community. ... Let your voice be heard” – Bill Orovan, publisher, Sept. 27, 1989 (from his welcome letter on page 3 of the first issue).

PPQ: What challenge has your publication had to overcome since its inception?

Philp: Most notably, an arsonist set fire to the offices of Echo on July 26, 1995. As a result, it burned for more than 15 hours and completely destroyed the building and its contents, including extensive archival materials. But like a phoenix, we rose from the ashes and our next issue still came out on time!

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Echo Magazine facing now?

Philp: As the LGBTQ community has gained visibility, rights and acceptance in recent years, the demand for more “mainstream” coverage has grown as well. And with a significant number of advertisers who identify as allies, it has been important to communicate to all stakeholders that Echo is still committed to Arizona’s LGBTQ community.

With audience growth comes the need for business growth, one of Echo’s current challenges is determining what that will look like in the new year and beyond. For example, we’ve researched what the addition of an app, the implementation of video (YouTube), consideration of third party sales and/or offering additional marketing services to our existing advertisers would add to our brand.

PPQ: How has Echo Magazine changed since it was first launched?

Philp: Our most recent, and necessary, set of changes kicked off in 2015 as part of our 25th anniversary rebrand effort. Our most noticeable changes (new logo, print redesign) were accompanied by the launch of an all-new echomag.com as well as reevaluated editorial and social media strategies. In the two short years that have followed, Echo’s likes, follows and engagement have soared (up 1,500 on Facebook, 2,110 on Instagram and 300 on Twitter). 

In 2015, Echo also moved from a biweekly format (which it had been since its inception) to a monthly publication in an effort to put our monthly advertiser costs in line with the local competition. As a direct result, Echo’s 2016 revenues increased nearly 20 percent compared with the previous year.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make?

Philp: Without a doubt, Echo is in need of a current and comprehensive readership survey! However, what we’ve found through our own various forms of analysis, our readers are so diverse that an accurate sampling has been a great challenge. For example, some of our least popular covers (based on pick-up rate) have performed the best across social media platforms. Similarly, our editorial content covers everyone from transgender children (some of whom belong to straight, cisgender parents) all the way up through gay and lesbian seniors.

PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories Echo Magazine has covered?

Philp: Without a doubt, the biggest news story Echo has covered would be the day Arizona gained marriage equality. On Oct. 17, 2014, two lawsuits in federal court (Majors v. Horne and Connolly v. Jeanes) that challenged the state’s anti-marriage law and constitutional amendment ended with a decision by U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick that the bans were unconstitutional. The state did not appeal the ruling, placing our red state ahead of even the Supreme Court in terms of same-sex marriage rights. 

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

Philp: Echo has always been a voice for advocacy. We’re here to tell the stories of the activists on the front lines, which has meant many different things in the past 27 years. We find that the best form of visibility and advocacy is in telling the stories of our everyday heroes – the super lesbian moms with twins, the blended families who are championing Arizona’s adoption crisis, the participant in the first-ever transgender bodybuilding competition, the local drag queen who landed on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

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

Philp: Echo readers never cease to amaze us with their feedback. In just the past few months alone, we’ve received compliments on our ongoing inclusivity efforts (Echo incorporated the Q in LGBTQ effective January 2015, despite AP Style); we’ve been told, through personal testimonials, that people still need help coming out and have used Echo as a way to start that conversation; and our readers have confirmed that they are still in need of safe places (to live, dine, etc.) and, in most cases, Echo has helped them successfully navigate this territory.

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

Philp: Contrary to popular belief, we maintain that the LGBTQ community is not truly a niche market. This is a nearly mainstream community comprised of innumerable niches (subcommunities) and, to properly represent and serve all of them with an overarching LGBTQ publication you must be prepared to take an unbiased look at every letter in the acronym. And when you think you have it figured out, do it again. And again. Because the minute you forget what it’s like to look at life from the perspective of one of the other letters, you’re doing more harm than good.

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 18
Issue 8

Friday, October 28, 2016

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

STAMPP CORBIN, publisher of SAN DIEGO LGBT WEEKLY, is now also CEO of the new BLVD
San Diego LGBT Weekly
Publisher Stampp Corbin
Treatment Center located in San Diego’s heavily gay Hillcrest neighborhood. BLVD Treatment Centers is a substance abuse treatment organization with locations in California and Oregon.

ECHOMAG.COM, a print publication based in Phoenix, Ariz., entered its 28th year of publication with its October 2016 issue.

GAY VEGAS, based in Las Vegas, celebrated its 19th anniversary with its July 2016 issue.

HOTSPOTS MEDIA GROUP, based in Wilton Manors, Fla., announced that PETER JACKSON has joined the organization as Vice President, General Manager.

Former Bay Windows
Editor Susan Ryan-Vollmar
JACK VEASY, a former managing for PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS from its founding in 1976 to 1979, died in July 2016. He was a poet and playwright as well as a journalist. He also wrote for the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, PHILADELPHIA MAGAZINE and PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER, as well as other publications. He published 11 collections of poetry. He was 60.

Q MAGAZINE, based in Key West, Fla., celebrated its 10th anniversary in its September 2016 issue.

SUSAN RYAN-VOLLMAR, a former editor of Boston-based BAY WINDOWS, is this year’s recipient of the History Maker Award from the History Project, which documents and preserves Boston’s LGBT history. As editor of the BOSTON PHOENIX, she contributed reporting that revealed the Boston Archdiocese’s child sex abuse scandal.

MARK THOMPSON, a former editor of THE ADVOCATE and a long-term HIV/AIDS survivor, died at his home in Palm Springs, Calif., in August 2016. He worked for the magazine as a writer and editor from 1975-1994. A memorial service was held September 18 at ONE Institute in L.A. He was 63.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 18
Issue 7

California's Frontiers suspends publication after owner declares bankruptcy

by Joe Siegel

Los Angeles-based Frontiers magazine has suspended publication due to the financial problems of its parent company, Multimedia Platforms Worldwide (MMP).

On October 4, the company, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida.

According to the Washington Blade, Multimedia Platforms Worldwide states in its bankruptcy petition that its estimated assets are less than $50,000 and its estimated liabilities exceed $1 million and could be as much as $10 million.

The bankruptcy filing comes just under two weeks after its largest creditor filed a lawsuit against MMP in Boston, accusing it of defaulting on a $1.75 million loan agreement and engaging in “fraudulent” and “negligent” misrepresentations in the information it provided to secure the loan.

The creditor, White Winston Select Asset Funds LLC of Boston, requested and received from a Suffolk County, Mass., Superior Court judge a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction seizing all of MMP’s assets. The lawsuit shows that the terms of the loan called for the company to put up virtually all of its assets as collateral for the loan.

Late last month, MMP laid off staff at Frontiers and four of its other publications, including Next magazine, which serves New York City, and Florida Agenda.

Frontiers has served Southern California's LGBT community for 35 years.
 
According to MMP CEO and founder Bobby Blair, a court order had been issued seizing his assets, as well as a restraining order “prohibiting the company from distributing any cash or any other assets of the company.” The staff of Frontiers will likely not be paid until the suit is resolved.

The bankruptcy filing was expected to give MMP a reprieve from the seizure of its assets and its impending default on numerous loans from other creditors based on an “automatic stay” on collection activities brought about by a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

South Florida Gay News has reported over the past several months that MMP has reported in its own financial statements filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it was faced with serious and possibly insurmountable financial problems. The company also billed itself as the nation’s only publicly-traded LGBT media company.

Ironically, Blair had boasted of the company's success in a March 2016 press release: “Today, we own five publications encapsulating a readership of nearly 7.5 million, 4.8 million unique visitors annually and over 200,000 social media followers.”

Frontiers has suffered financial turmoil before. In March 2013, the publication filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the following year it was purchased by Michael Turner, who aimed to expand the magazine's reader base and increase its digital presence. Despite these goals, Frontiers continued to struggle and was sold again in 2015, this time to Blair.

Although Blair had stepped down as CEO four months ago, according to an SEC filing on June 30, which covered the six-month period when he was actively at the company's helm, MMP "recognized net revenue of $1,459,168 and a net loss of $4,698,798 and had negative working capital of $5,518,237.”

MMP has had other legal troubles as well, with a lawsuit filed against it earlier this year by another Florida publisher alleging violation of a no-compete agreement by a former employee hired by the company. 

And Karen Ocamb, the longtime Frontiers news editor, filed a complaint of age discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after the magazine let her go in February.

TOP STORY
Volume 18
Issue 7