Tuesday, June 25, 2013


ADELANTE, based in Los Angeles, celebrated its 15th anniversary with its June 2013 issue.

LOIS APPLEGATE, a former employee of Cleveland, Ohio-based GAY PEOPLE’S CHRONICLE, passed away on Feb. 4, 2013, at the age of 84. She is survived by her partner LANNA RODGERS.

THE FIGHT, a Los Angeles-based glossy, celebrated its second anniversay with its February 2013 issue.

THE GAY & LESBIAN REVIEW, based in Boston, has unveiled its new website at GLREVIEW.ORG. The site was revamped to offer more original content that's not in the print magazine as well as to be more visually appealing and more user-friendly.

INSTINCT MAGAZINE, based in Los Angeles, has unveiled its new INSTINCT ONLINE at INSTINCTMAGAZINE.COM. 

LAMBDA WEEKLY, heard Saturdays on KNON-FM in Dallas, Texas, celebrates its 30th anniversary on August 1, 2013. Hosted by David Taffet, "the late" Patti Fink and Lerone Landis, the show had the station's highest rating in the latest Arbitron ratings. The talk show is the longest-running LGBT show on the air anywhere and is one of the station's few remaining original shows that signed on when the station went on the air in August 1983.

LETTERS FROM CAMP REHOBOTH, based in Rehoboth Beach, Del., entered its 23rd year of publication with its February 8, 2013, issue.

EMILY MILLS is the new editor of Madison, Wisc.-based OUR LIVES.  She replaces VIRGINIA HARRISON. Mills is a former co-editor of DANE101.COM.

OPTIONS NEWSMAGAZINE, based in Providence, R.I., entered its 32nd year of publication with its February 2013 issue.

Volume 15
Issue 3

Sunday, June 23, 2013

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Quest Magazine of Green Bay, Wisconsin

by David Webb

Staff size and breakdown: 1 staff photographer (part-time); 4 freelance photographers (part-time); 1 feature writer (part-time); 3 columnists (part-time) and 1 graphic design/layout/bookkeeping (full-time)

Physical dimensions of publication: 8½” x 11” full-color coated stock

Average page count: 28 pages

Area of coverage: Wisconsin including Madison, Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Green Bay and Fox Cities

Key demographics for readers:  75% male, 25% female; Average age around 30

Website address: www.quest-online.com


PPQ: When did you launch your publication, and what inspired you to do it?

Publisher Mark Mariucci: February 1993. At that time, I owned a large dance club in Green Bay. The main LGBT media publication was called In Step and mostly covered Milwaukee where it was based. I hoped to level the playing field a bit by publishing a cheaper publication that small bars in little cities could afford and also give them, along with my bar, more coverage of events. We always distributed in Milwaukee, but we also were in every city that had at least one gay bar back then.

PPQ: What if anything distinguishes your publication from other LGBT newspapers, magazines and online publications, and how much competition is there in your area for LGBT-specific news and advertising?

Mariucci: Quest evolved over the years from an events calendar into a full-fledged newsmagazine when we found ourselves the only one still publishing. However today, we mainly focus on arts, entertainment, photography and lifestyle. We now compete with two other publications: Wisconsin Gazette, a Milwaukee-based newspaper that covers local and national news, and Our Lives from Madison, which has a similar glossy format to Quest but is more focused on telling people’s stories. Quest differs from the other two in that we are less politically correct. We attempt to highlight the diverse crosssection of the LGBT lifestyle in both words and our photography.  Many of the businesses that could advertise with us are put off when they see anything remotely sexual on our pages, such as a man in a bar with his shirt off or wearing leather attire, or the drag community which we are particularly fond of. Quest does not shy away from showing this side of our community, but that scares away advertisers in our market. 

PPQ: What were your greatest challenges in getting it up and running?

Mariucci: Quest was started back when many other publications were still doing wax paste-up. We began using Quark Xpress for digital publishing from the start. There are always growing pains when you are learning to use what at the time was cutting edge new technology. We were unknown from a small market, so getting advertisers to embrace us was the biggest challenge.

PPQ: Is it successful now and how do you gauge that?

Mariucci: We have most of the advertising market that is LGBT-owned including bars, restaurants and other small businesses. Our ad prices are very low, so we have to be extremely frugal. Although I would not say Quest is financially rewarding, we do have the love and respect of a large segment of the LGBT community. We have touched many lives over the years, and I feel our work is important.

PPQ: Have you experienced significant changes in publication size, and when did you see that occurring?

Mariucci: We started our as a booklet-sized 5½” x 8” publication in newsprint but bound into a book. Within our first year, we acquired presses and started printing in a larger 7” x 8.5” format similar to what Homo Xtra in New York was doing then. In 2007, we started having our printing done for us again so we could move to more color. Two years ago, we went all color on glossy paper which was much more expensive, but the results were worth it, especially for our advertisers.

PPQ: Are you facing new challenges and what are they?

Mariucci: Our print run is half of what we used to do, and we have fewer pages as well. Advertising dollars have not grown, plus we have seen the number of LGBT businesses in our state decrease. More people are turning to online resources, replacing some of what we used to publish. Things like event calendars and classifieds have migrated to Facebook and Craigslist, for example. News is often more timely when read online. We have changed what we publish as a result of these changes.

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

Mariucci: I think it is the lack of negative feedback that surprised me most. There has been only one or two people voice critical comments over the years.

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

Mariucci:  Try to work alongside the other publications around you to be different and not just repeat what is already being done elsewhere. Find a way to be able to move to the web when print is no longer viable. For a small entity like Quest, that is our greatest challenge going forward.

Volume 15
Issue 3

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

IN THE NEWS: San Antonio’s LGBT-media past being digitized; No arrests in Washington Blade thefts from distribution boxes; San Diego LGBT Weekly goes biweekly, but the name remains the same; Nashville newspaper changes its name and launches a new look; Gayellow Pages celebrates its 40th anniversary

San Antonio’s LGBT-media past being digitized
by Chuck Colbert

The Digital Revolution may well be the bane of gay print publication survival. But for historians of the LGBT community, its technology is a godsend.

A case in point is The Digital GLBTQ Publications collection, housed at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). For some time now, the university’s Libraries Special Collections has been digitizing local “queer periodicals.” The holdings include those the school had as well as those from the HAPPY Foundation Archives.

The HAPPY Foundation is a small LGBT archive located across the street from the Alamo. As part of its mission, the archive is dedicated to preserving LGBT history. The Foundation is named for Arthur “Hap” Veltman Jr., a local entrepreneur whom everyone called Happy. He died of AIDS in December 1988.

The Digital GLBTQ Publications collection spans three decades from the early 1980s though the mid 2000s, including The Calendar, The Marquise, San Antonio Community News, and Rainbow Gazette and Rainbow Garden Club manuscripts.

UTSA’s Digital GLBTQ Publications collection features primarily local periodicals, but some are not. The collection, for example, also includes several issues of One magazine, the nation’s first gay publication. The HAPPY Foundation houses the hard-copy issues.

Currently, QSanAntonio.com, in its seventh year of publication, is the city’s online LGBT magazine.

Melissa Gohlke, an urban historian working on the history of San Antonio's LGBTQ community, has been a driving force behind the digital project.

“Needless to say, we were very excited about the opportunity to digitize these valuable and rare materials that are so important to the preservation of San Antonio's queer history,” Gohlke explained. “This is an ongoing process. We plan to continue adding to our current digital holdings as well as acquiring analog materials from donors at LGBTQ organizations and from individual members of the city's queer community.”

Asked about the importance of the project, Gohlke said, “The long-term benefits of donations from the city's LGBTQ organizations and individuals cannot be understated. Too often in the past, queer materials were discarded or destroyed. Our goal is preservation and accessibility. As more materials are digitized, opportunities for access are greatly expanded.”

Gohlke began the digitization project several years ago as a graduate assistant working on a master's in history, with specific expertise in San Antonio's LGBTQ community. In fall 2009, she met Gene Elder, the archivist at the Happy Foundation. There, Gohlke volunteered as an intern and spent the semester cataloging the collections at the Happy Foundation.

Last year, Elder expressed interest in having some of the Happy Foundation’s materials digitized and thereby made more accessible to researchers and community members, said Gohlke. His interest coincided with Special Collections' purchase of an overhead scanner, which makes mass digitization projects possible.

“It has been a long time coming to get any university in San Antonio to start collecting our gay history. So I am delighted by what Melissa is doing,” said Elder. "She has really looked at San Antonio with a fresh eye, which is always welcome and greatly needed in our situation. Melissa has really uncovered newspaper articles and histories we had no idea existed. So I just get the biggest kick out of all her discoveries. These gay histories are most important especially here in the heart of Texas.”

Gohlke’s “Top Shelf” blog posts 
(http://utsalibrariestopshelf.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/san-antonio-glbtq-publications-now-online/) for the UTSA Special Collections raise awareness, helping to spread the word about the digitalized materials and informing the local community about its history. OutHistory.org republished the blog about San Antonio's Drag Culture of the 1930s and ‘40s, thereby greatly expanding their audience, she said. “The numbers of views of this blog and others pertaining to LGBTQ materials have proved very popular, indicating an interest in such topics.”

Gohlke plans to write more about the history of San Antonio's gay and lesbian community, a goal she started when completing her thesis, “Out in the Alamo City: Revealing San Antonio's Gay and Lesbian Past, World War II to the 1990s.” She is currently working on research for the book version.

No arrests in Washington Blade thefts from distribution boxes

by Joe Siegel

Five months after the mass removal of the Washington Blade from distribution boxes around the District of Columbia, there has still been no arrest made.

Blade writer Lou Chibbaro told Press Pass Q that the Blade is proposing that the D.C. City Council pass legislation that would make it illegal to take more than just a few newspapers from a free distribution box. The legislation is modeled after similar laws that exist in Maryland and other states. 

According to Chibbaro's Jan. 16 story, Blade publisher Lynne Brown said she and others had given the license plate number of a white Toyota Camry and a description of its driver to the police’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU). She had not heard back about whether police have traced the identity of the driver or owner of the car, Brown said.

Witnesses said the license plate on the car in question was a Maryland vanity plate with the letters “JS.”
“Theft of all bundles of Washington Blade newspapers from their street boxes around the city continues,” Brown told GLLU Officer Justin Markiewicz in a Jan. 10 e-mail. “It happens weekly. It happens in different neighborhoods. It most often happens, by eyewitness accounts, early Friday mornings.”
Brown said one or more suspects have been systematically breaking a clear plastic clip that holds a single issue of the Blade in the window of the distribution boxes, allowing readers to view the front page of the paper to find out when the new edition is delivered each Friday. She said the vandalism is continuing.
“The police have been polite and helpful,” Brown said. “However, the message has been this is a low, low level of priority.”
There were reports last September that boxes for the Blade and D.C.-based Metro Weekly were also being vandalized in the Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and 17th Street gay entertainment areas.
Blade Editor Kevin Naff told Press Pass Q there has been no change in the way the Blade is being distributed. 

San Diego LGBT Weekly goes biweekly, but the name remains the same
by Chuck Colbert

With an eye to the future, a Southern California publication has decided to publish its print version biweekly rather than every week. But the name will remain the same — San Diego LGBT Weekly.

As publisher Stampp Corbin explained earlier this year in an editorial, “Our website provides new information daily, which can be accessed through our mobile apps and the web, and our regular columnists will continue to write for us weekly. Meaning, one week you can access the columnists by going to LGBTweekly.com and the next week you will be able to read them online or in the print publication.”

He added, “Our brand is strong; the concept behind our brand remains the same: bringing our readers the best in news, entertainment and features on a daily and weekly basis. So, San Diego LGBT Weekly it will remain.”

The move to biweekly comes at a time of increasing reliance on digital platforms, with readers of many LGBT publications accessing information from websites and mobile apps. In San Diego, Corbin points to more than 30,000 unique local visitors to LGBTWeekly.com, along with more than 10,000 people who carry The Pride Card and use the LGBT Weekly mobile app. Other readers engage San Diego LGBT Weekly through Facebook and Twitter.

The Pride Card is an affinity card offering special discounts to cardholders from a diverse range of businesses such as coffee shops, bars and restaurants as well as hotels, pet stores and health and fitness outlets. The Pride Card is also available as an app for Android and iPhones.

The new biweekly publication will have more content and feature longer interviews, as well as more detailed news and entertainment, Corbin said.

“Our readers have responded very positively to our biweekly schedule,” explained Corbin in e-mail correspondence. “While I do not believe that print is dead, advertisers want a portfolio of products from a publisher so they can custom design their advertising strategy.” 

On the business side, going biweekly has made the San Diego LGBT Weekly more profitable, said Corbin. “While advertising revenues initially took a hit, the hit was offset by significantly reduced printing and staffing costs.” 

Going biweekly is “the best of all worlds,” said Corbin, “a solidly profitable media organization that can serve the San Diego LGBT community on multiple platforms into the future.”

So why not change the name? “We debated changing the name of the publication, but our brand is so strong we decided to stay with San Diego LGBT Weekly,” said Corbin. “Since people are accessing content daily through other parts of our portfolio, our readers have not made any comments about the name not being truly reflective of the distribution schedule. During the week that we do not publish a print edition, our columnists submit their weekly column on LGBTweekly.com.”

And yet, the front cover of the publication includes a banner that says "Biweekly Print Edition, Daily Updates at LGBTweekly.com."

Founded in 2010, the award-winning San Diego LGBT Weekly bills itself as “the only news organization that provides you in-depth analysis about our lives as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people, our politics, our culture and our world,” with a mission “to inform and entertain the San Diego lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.”

In 2011, San Diego LGBT Weekly won five awards from the San Diego Press Association. In 2012, the publication won an additional 10 awards.

The publication prints 7,000 copies, distributed every other Thursday throughout San Diego County. Its distribution stretches from Chula Vista to Escondido, from the beachfront to the inland valleys, including Hillcrest, University City and other Central City neighborhoods in which many LGBT San Diegans live.

A nationally recognized LGBT activist, Corbin served as co-chair of the 2008 Obama for America presidential campaign's National LGBT Leadership Council. He is also a former member of the board of directors for the Human Rights Campaign. Corbin blogs for the Huffington Post. Before its demise, he was a political reporter for the San Diego Gay and Lesbian Times.

Nashville newspaper changes its name and launches a new look

by Chuck Colbert

A Tennessee-based LGBT publication has a new name and a new look. Out & About Newspaper is now Out & About Nashville. The publication also has a new website.

"The rebranding is part of an overall revamp of the publication,” said publisher Jerry Jones. “We've changed with the times since we started more than 10 years ago, and this was consistent with that. We returned to our original name, Out & About Nashville, and shortened it to O&AN. We wanted a fresher more modern look, and one that reflected our in-depth coverage of the Nashville LGBT community."

Jones went on to discuss the overhaul of the digital property. “A new website, new look for our social media outlets and new initiatives to drive readers from social media back to our website, as well as our news alert e-mail product were all part of the digital overhaul,” he explained. “The BRANDagement at BNA Talent Group project managed the rebrand and relaunch, owned by Josh Robbins. Web programmer Ryan Huber headed up the redesign, which is running on a Drupal base. The new site is very robust, and features a new ad server system that allows many new features for our advertisers that we previously could not supply, including rich media banner ads and video ad integration.”

The newspaper’s print run varies between 12,000 and 15,000 per month, depending on the month. The publication is distributed to more than 150 sites throughout middle Tennessee, Knoxville, Memphis and Chattanooga. It is also the only LGBT publication that distributes in select Kroger and Harris Teeter grocery stores.

Out & About Nashville debuted in the fall of 2002 as a monthly newspaper designed to fill a growing need in the Nashville LGBT community.

Since then, it has grown to provide coverage of the LGBT community for all of Tennessee. With a target audience of more than 250,000 people, O&AN provides in-depth local news coverage along with political, business, feature, sports and entertainment stories.

"This only just the beginning of an exciting year of growth and change,” said publisher Jones. “We see a huge market in the digital arena and we’re looking forward to offering some very exciting products in that area in the very near future. We’ve got some very cool ideas that are in the development stage that we’re working on that will target a younger demographic to introduce them to our publication.”

O&AN has also been on the cutting edge of reporting. In late April, it was the first news outlet to break the story about the national HIV vaccine trial HVTN 505 to discontinue immunizations, citing sources close to the situation after O&AN obtained a letter to HVTN 505 participants. The Associated Press and all major international and national media outlets later reported the story.

Gayellow Pages celebrates its 40th anniversary
by Chuck Colbert

A national directory of LGBT resources has achieved a significant milestone, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, with Gayellow Pages 35th annual print edition released this past March. 

Gayellow Pages is a directory of resources, both businesses and organizations, including accommodations, bars, restaurants, bookstores, doctors, lawyers, organizations, florists, churches — pretty much everything except escort services. 

Gayellow Pages —  note the spelling with only one “y” — is not to be confused with various local directories, which may go by the names of Gay Yellow Pages, Rainbow Community Pages, Pink Pages or Gay and Lesbian Community Pages. 

"We include a national resources section as well as the local listings," said Frances Green, founder and publisher of Gayellow Pages since 1973. 

Asked what Gayellow Pages provides to the LGBT community, she said, “The Internet is both curse and blessing as there are masses of information out there, but it has to be checked. Some resources are more accurate than others. I exchange information with the LGBT National Help Center, which maintains a pretty comprehensive online guide.”

And while accuracy and verification are the publication's strong suits, Green readily acknowledges the importance of such a print and online resource may be waning.

"I am not sure how important it is these days," Green explained. "Print [on demand] volume is small. A few bookstores stock it, but ‘our’ bookstores are very thin on the ground these days. Some libraries have it, and we do some mail order, so evidently there's still some demand. And print-on-demand technology makes it very easy. I wish I'd caught on earlier! Online, well, we're not very high traffic. There are plenty of local resources and travel guides. It's a labor of love now, and was never very profitable." 

The Gayellow Pages print edition is $25, a CD version is $10, and the online version, which is updated monthly and can be read online but downloading is recommended, is free. 

The publication can be ordered directly from its website www.gayellowpages.com. It is also available from Amazon.com.

New York City-based Renaissance House publishes Gayellow Pages.

Volume 15
Issue 3

Sunday, June 16, 2013

TOP STORIES: Print still rules: 18th annual Gay Press Report shows that the news for the LGBT press is good; Making Pride fresh: Editors and publishers find ways of putting new twists on annual coverage

TOP STORY: Print still rules: 18th annual Gay Press Report shows that the news for the LGBT press is good
by Chuck Colbert

Ad spending is up. Circulation is up. The gay press is growing. But gay-specific ads are down. These are major findings of the recently released 2012 Gay Press Report.

The Gay Press Report, now in its 18th year, tracks all advertising and revenue in the gay press, including local newspapers, local LGBT magazines and guides, and national LGBT magazines. It has been published annually since 1994.

“The gay press is fully recovered from the recession,” said Todd Evans, president and CEO of Rivendell Media, the nation’s largest LGBT ad placement firm. (Rivendell is also publisher of Press Pass Q.)

“LGBT Press, once thought to be recession proof, was dramatically affected by the 2009 recession,” Evans said. “Spending, which had been always trending up — sometimes dramatically — showed wide swings from its all-time high in 2009 to almost a 50 percent spending loss in 2010 back to another wide swing up in 2011 and is again approaching its all-time high.”

In all, ad spending in LGBT media for 2012 is $322.6 million — a 5.1 percent increase from 2011, according to findings in the 23-page document, which was published by Rivendell in June. Ad revenue for 2011 stood at $307 million, but the all-time high was $349.6 million in 2009.

By way of comparison, spending for general market consumer magazines registered slight declines of 1.3 percent (2011) and 3.0 percent (2012) after a slight recovery in 2010. Revenues in the general market category for 2012 are estimated at $10.4 billion, compared to a high of $14.1 billion in 2007, which is 25.7 percent drop.

Overall, “since 1996,” the report states, “gay press revenues have increased 340.1 percent compared to  general market consumer magazines,” which “translates into compound annual growth rates of 9.7 percent and 1.0 percent respectively.” That means “from 1996 to 2012, ad revenues for gay press grew almost 10 times faster than” the general market category.

"This report shows the LGBT press outperforming general magazine spending growth in 2012," said Tracy Baim, publisher and executive editor of Chicago-based Windy City Times. "In this ever-changing media landscape, it is important for companies to focus their money in targeted ways, and the LGBT community provides a better value for their spending dollars than almost any media company. LGBTs are trend leaders, and their regional media outlets provide an excellent opportunity to reach a valued and valuable community. These media companies have a long history as legacy media outlets in their cities, and the level of their connection to their communities is not able to be duplicated through any other advertising channels.”

Other report findings showed that circulation of LGBT media is also up nearly five percent, with the combined circulation of all LGBT media for 2012 at 2,341,337.

The number of gay publications is also up seven percent, with the number of titles in gay media rising from 114 in 2011 to 122 in 2012. The same year the gay press consisted of 205 issues — 26 more than in 2011.

In more good news, a recent informal survey of the leading LGBT publishers, conducted May 31, in anticipation of the Gay Press Report’s release, indicated that 85 percent of respondents are optimistic for a good year ahead.  

But not all the news is good. Gay specific ad revenue fell 20.4 percent from 2011. The Gay Press Report does not provide revenue dollar amounts for gay-specific ads, but for some time now the report showed upward trends from 2002 to 2010. In 2002 gay-specific ads accounted for nearly 10 percent of all advertising in LGBT media. By 2010, it had reached an all-time high of 72.4 percent. In 2012, gay-specific ads were 54.2 percent.

Gay specific ads are those that explicitly reference gay and lesbian people and their lives. Creative ads can be topical, for example, dealing with a social issue that is important to the LGBT consumer audience or in their depiction and portrayal of relationships. The theory behind such targeted marketing is that gay consumers favorably respond when they see themselves reflected in advertising.

The Gay Press Report offers an explanation for the downturn: “This decline may be just a leftover effect of the Great Recession. Creative investment is still generally the largest line item cost for any ad campaign and also requires a much longer investment of time. During economic downturns, it is not unusual for companies to continue their existing campaigns or, in LGBT media’s case, run their mainstream campaigns rather than invest in new creative.”

In another important finding, the Gay Press Report showed that local gay media accounts for 95.3 percent of all spending, with local LGBT newspapers accounting for 77.2 percent of revenues, local LGBT guides and magazines 18.1 percent, and national LGBT magazines 4.7 percent.

The Gay Press Report documented a variety of ad categories, including real estate, financial services, health/fitness/grooming, medical/health, arts and entertainment, travel, food and beverage, events, retail, home furnishing/décor, automotive, gay internet sites, and professional services, among others.

The report showed a number of noteworthy increases in some categories such as events, home, retail, real estate, and fashion/accessories, with other categories remaining about the same or notably lower.

In the gay-specific category, only events (gay events, meetings, AIDS events/fundraisers) and retail showed increases in spending for advertising. Other categories showed declines.

The Gay Press Report provides a unique, historical perspective on the gay and lesbian market. The report includes all publications that specifically and exclusively target the LGBT market and include publications regardless of representation by Rivendell. All titles are gathered from the month of April insofar as it is considered an average month in the gay media cycle. All advertising is then categorized, measured and tracked. The information is extrapolated for all 12 months of the calendar year.

The importance of this methodology cannot be overstated, according to Rivendell’s Evans. "We track every LGBT publication that is known, and it takes an enormous amount of effort as so many publications will not send us their April issue if we do not have an ad in them. But we would gladly pay for the issue,” he explained.  

“I think one of the biggest crises in gay media is that there is not much news about the gay press or the LGBT market while there is plenty of news about equal rights. Then, of course, we have the whole world of digital media saying print is dead. This report is virtually the only tool promoting the LGBT market showing actual ad spending," said Evans. “One thing is clear: Print is where most money is spent in the LGBT market. Print still rules. This report helps to stimulate interest by Madison Avenue.”

TOP STORY: Making Pride fresh: Editors and publishers find ways of putting new twists on annual coverage
by Chuck Colbert

The season of LGBT Pride has arrived, with parades and festivals and whole lot more bursting out all over this June and beyond. For more than four decades now, gay Americans from coast to coast have celebrated LGBT rights and liberation. As each locality develops its schedule of events, a certain routine of parades and après-parade festivities set in. How then do gay media outlets keep their coverage interesting and fresh?

Press Pass Q asked editors and publishers from six metropolitan areas, including Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Here is a sampling of how their LGBT media outlets cover the annual summer rites:

“For the last six years, we have tried to explore a larger theme, explore a larger question in each Pride issue,” said Kevin Naff, editor of the Washington Blade, where the District of Columbia held its parade on Saturday, June 8.

In light of all the good news lately, namely the 2102 election results and the advance of marriage equality in Delaware, Minnesota, and Rhode Island, the Blade posed this question to politicians, celebrities, bloggers and movement leaders: “Have we reached a turning point in the LGBT rights movement and what does the end of the movement look like to you?”

Responses from 20 celebrities, like singer Melissa Etheridge and Oakland Raiders ally Chris Kluwe, were published over six pages in the Blade’s Pride issue. A consensus from respondents suggested that while we’re not at end of the movement, at least a turning point has been reached, one from which there is no turning back.

For his part, Naff’s editorial “End of the Rainbow?” pointed to the lack of workplace protections in many states, rising rates of HIV infection among MSM, and hate crimes targeting LGBTs as examples of remaining problems that need to be addressed.

Of course, the Blade covered the District’s parade and street festival, along with a schedule of events and logistics. The publication also reported on Baltimore Pride the following week. The Blade is also a sponsor of New York City Pride on Sunday, June 30.

Just as parade participants trekked the streets of the nation’s capital, so marchers traveled through Boston. Both cities held their major celebrations on the same day.

Boston-based Rainbow Times’ editor Nicole Lashomb said the key to keeping the publication’s Pride coverage interesting is cooperation or “a partnership” between the newspaper and event organizers.

“The organizations are responsible for putting together the events that will attract the community and therefore make interesting coverage for the publication,” she explained. For its part, “The Rainbow Times provides extensive photo and story coverage that appears digitally in our social media platform, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Stumble Upon, Tumblr and our website within 24 hours.”

The Rainbow Times also provides coverage of other Pride celebrations in the New England region. “We are proud to call ourselves the only LGBT New England publication that has such a comprehensive coverage of Boston Pride and beyond both online and in print,” she said.

Rainbow Times publisher Gricel Martinez Ocasio said that it is important to keep in mind that “Pride coverage is evolving,” adding, “Because of that, we now publish two different Pride pieces, one pocket-size New England Pride Map, expandable to an 11x17 glossy piece that acts as a portable quick reference to all of the critical event information taking place during Pride season.

“The second publication is the Boston Pride Guide. This guide is specific to Boston Pride and contains elaborated information regarding Pride week and the events taking place during that time. The Rainbow Times, every year through the Boston Pride Guide, highlights some of the feature performers via exclusive interviews. Our motto is: Interested attendees may be more attracted to the events taking place if they know more about the performers.”

“We also we partner with most of the New England Pride organizations to allow for optimal exposure of their events online and in print,” said Ocasio. 

Philadelphia Pride was Sunday, June 9. Philadelphia Gay News (PGN) editor Jen Colletta spoke to the task of keeping coverage fresh each year. “It definitely is challenging for PGN to find new and interesting angles to cover each year. When writing a preview story about Philly's Pride event, we always try to focus on what's new — a new event, new location, new party — to show what sets this year's Pride apart from last year's or the year before.”

“If there's nothing new that's interesting enough to base a story around, we have also focused on some new trends,” Colletta said. “For example, recently Pride organizers have begun noticing an influx in younger attendees, so we focused one story on that aspect. We have also done pieces on the financial and logistical challenges of Pride. For arts coverage, we interview the headlining entertainer each year as well as performers with great background stories or who are new to the event.

“We also focus heavily on our photographic coverage, featuring a special post-Pride pullout section the following week that's filled with pictures. We try to use the photos to tell the story of that year's Pride, and we've found that people really enjoy getting to see that visual recap, as well as possibly seeing themselves or their friends in print.”

In Chicago, the Pride landscape has an interesting twist, said Windy City Times publisher and executive editor Tracy Baim. There, the Pride organization does the parade and nothing else. “The extracurricular activities are privately-sponsored, with a different motive,” that of “profit. Therefore, there’s a little more variety in what goes on — not a lot of entrenched stuff.”

Baim pointed to the Northalstead Business Alliance as an example of one organization, which for several years sponsored a street festival the day before Sunday’s parade. But this year, she said, the festival has been moved up a week before Pride and expanded to both Saturday and Sunday.

For its part, Windy City Times sponsors a “Gay Idols” contest each year, with the winner crowned in the Pride issue, said Baim. In addition, the publication spotlights 30 LGBTs under 30 years of age. The winners are announced in the Pride issue.

These events, while routine, said Baim, always inject “new energy and new people” into the celebration and coverage.

“We do the routine stuff,” said Baim, “take and run photos. But there is enough going on in the community, so we feel we can cover some of the ongoing and some of the one-time events. Our Pride issue and the post-Pride issue are our largest, and everyone knows to save them as souvenirs because there is so much in it.”

Baim also said that because the Metropolitan Community Church’s General Conference is scheduled the week after Pride, this year’s Pride issue will have a focus on religion.

Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court’s pending rulings on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act are on the minds of many. Those decisions are expected before Chicago Pride and “will greatly influence what happens,” said Baim and by “what happened in [the Illinois capital of] Springfield” the last week of May when the General Assembly adjourned without taking a vote on the same-sex marriage bill passed by the state Senate.

Chicago's Pride parade is Sunday, June 30.

Not all Pride celebrations occur in June. For example, this year’s San Diego LGBT Pride, held July 12-14, marks its 39th annual celebration. The San Diego Pride organization produces the annual parade, festival and celebration, and also coordinates a number of advocacy, civil rights and community service activities year round, said Steve Lee, editor of San Diego LGBT Weekly.

In a word, the publication’s handling of Pride is comprehensive. San Diego LGBT Weekly covers not only Pride season, but also San Diego Pride. “In our most recent print issue, we ran a two-page feature on ‘Pride Season’ where we profiled upcoming Pride Festivals in California,” said Lee. “Ahead of the main festival newsworthy items concerning San Diego Pride are covered in print and in daily updates on our website LGBTweekly.com.”

Besides Pride news coverage in its biweekly print magazine, the publication also produces a separate Pride Guide, both coming out the day before the festival starts.

“The Pride Guide gives locals and visitors alike all the nuts and bolts of the three-day festival including community events, club events, festival entertainment schedules and a map,” Lee explained. “The content of the main magazine is also geared to serve the needs of both locals and visitors to the city. This 64-plus-page issue has a special cover and in addition to our regular columnists is packed with special features, guest commentaries and hyper-local content. We may consider joint promotions, giveaways and competitions.

“We profile and interview the headlining entertainment acts. This year we are also profiling the main Pride party’s producer. We run features on local LGBT leaders and politicians. We cover health and entertainment. Additionally, we include plenty of information for visitors to San Diego from places to go beyond the festival to downtown restaurant and nightlife guides,” he explained. “A week after Pride, we publish a special glossy four-page pullout within the main magazine this year called ‘2013 Pride Yearbook,’ containing pictures of every aspect of San Diego Pride.”

Sure enough, Pride-related controversy is guaranteed to spice up coverage. Take what Bay Area Reporter (BAR) news editor Cynthia Laird referred to as the “Bradley Manning fiasco,” which “has been at the center of our Pride coverage since early May,” she said.

U.S. Army Private Manning is the WikiLeaks whistle-blower who pleaded guilty to releasing classified documents.

Early on, said Laird, reaction to his being selected as grand marshal was positive. But when “gay military folks took to Facebook to express their displeasure at the selection, I knew then that we had a story. The Pride board rescinded his grand marshal honor late Friday, April 26. We editorialized right away for the board to reinstate Manning, because to us, once you bestow something like a grand marshal honor you can't take it away.

“Most of the negative reaction to the Pride board has been of its own making. There seemed to be process problems within Pride over the group — former grand marshals —  that voted on the Manning selection. Pride has many grand marshals, some chosen by the public, some by Pride members. Pride came out with not one, but two clumsy news releases that further angered people. Then, the board tried to block media access from a meeting. Our reporter was allowed in but our photographer was not. So, as they say in the news biz, it's the story that keeps on giving.”

More recently, Pride organizers announced on June 7 that Manning would not receive any honor or recognition.

“I imagine this will be an issue through the parade, as we see what the Bradley Manning contingent will do. I suspect the contingent will be larger than the past two years, and much more vocal,” said Laird.

This year’s Pride theme is “Embrace, Encourage, Empower.” BAR’s special section will focus on grand marshal profiles and stories related to the theme of empowerment, said Laird. “And our news section for June 27 will have the latest on Pride and safety measures in the wake of Boston Marathon bombings.”

Volume 15
Issue 3