Monday, July 29, 2013

BULLETIN BOARD


The Word, the Southern Midwest's largest gay and lesbian newspaper, is for sale by its founding owner who wishes to retire. Since 1991, The Word has been debt-free, sells out every 56+ page issue and collects 98% of bills. Circulation: 9000+ print editions monthly in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio & Tennessee, plus 3,000+ downloads at www.thegayword.com. Sale includes intellectual property, existing contracts, website, computers and street boxes. Contact Ted Fleischaker 317/632.8840 or ted@midwestword.com.
(DO YOU HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT for the Bulletin Board? Bulletin Board announcements are just a dollar (U.S.) per word per insertion, paid up front. Send a check payable to Rivendell Media, 1248 Route 22 West, Mountainside, NJ 07092.)

IN THE NEWS: Readers of Michigan's Between the Lines writes letter to the editor, gets her own column

by Joe Siegel

Michigan's LGBT publication Between the Lines (BTL) published a column by a 15 year-old reader named Evelyn Dykes after receiving a plea from her for more viewpoints from LGBT teenagers.

In her March 7 letter to the editor, Dykes wrote: “We need everyone to be represented - first and foremost - but also, we need the youth. After all, we're the future of you guys. We'll be the ones to find cures for HIV and equality across the nation. We're going to be like the nuclear bomb after the last LGBT generation's warfare, and that's pretty impressive. ... I, Evelyn Dykes (real name), would like to propose a column to be written by myself that chronicles the lives of several LGBT teenagers and children.”

In response, the newspaper offered Dykes her own column.

On March 21, BTL published Dykes’ column, about a same-sex crush and the heartbreak of rejection.

“I know that in the time that we've been broken, several deeply personal occurrences have played out in a rather dramatic format. I still wonder what went wrong, and if it'll ever be the same. Part of me - the weird, semi-formed adult - knows the truth, knows that it'll never, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever (except for those in which she miraculously declares her everlasting love for me and I feel strong enough to accept the consequences of the responsibilities associated with sharing a closet someday) be the same. The other half ... is overcome by such a desire for hugs and her face that it is hard to breathe most times, and even harder to see straight when doing so.”

BTL Editor Susan Horowitz said Dykes “basically wrote to us requesting space for a column which we fully embraced.”

Horowitz and Dykes never met face to face. Communication was via e-mail. 

“She then wrote one column and perhaps lost interest since we did not receive any more correspondence,” Horowitz said.

BTL is open to publishing submissions from LGBT teenagers. 

“Our policy is to embrace that kind of enthusiasm and try and encourage participation when it presents itself, especially from young folks,” Horowitz added.

Volume 15
Issue 4
IN THE NEWS

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

(Editor’s note: Are there important changes going on at your publication? E-Mail the information to editor@PressPassQ.com.)

DAVID BADASH, a former contributor to BILERICO and founder and editor in chief of the NEW CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, wed his partner of five years, CALEB EIGSTI on June 28, 2013, in a private ceremony in Provincetown, Mass., where they were engaged in 2011.

GA VOICE, based in Atlanta, celebrated its third anniversary with its March 15, 2013, issue.

GET OUT WEEKLY, based in New York City, published its 100th issue on March 13, 2013.

OUTTRAVELER.COM and American Express have teamed up to create the PROVINCETOWN GUIDE 2013, a directory to help visitors find the city’s best shopping, dining, hotels, and nightlife. Now live at OUTTRAVELER.COM/PROVINCETOWN, the guide offers travel tips for planning a getaway to one of the most popular destinations for LGBT travelers.

Q NOTES, based in Charlotte, N.C., announced the departure of two of its long-time staffers. Associate editor DAVID STOUT is leaving after 21 years with the newspaper, having served as editor from 1992 to 1999. MISS DELLA, who writes the newspaper’s “Drag Rag” column, is also leaving.

THE QUEER PROGRAM, a cable access television show based in Milwaukee, Wisc., has celebrated 20 years of broadcasting. A 20th anniversary party for the show was held on March 15, 2013, at the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center.

WINDY CITY TIMES and CENTER ON HALSTED are launching a 9-month series of LGBTQ educational programs featuring prominent scholars known nationally for their innovative research and work. Lavender University is modeled on a project of the same name that operated for several years in the 1970s and 1980s, providing a wide range of interesting educational and skills-building programs.

Volume 15
Issue 4
TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

Thursday, July 25, 2013

PRESSING QUESTIONS: San Diego LGBT Weekly


by David Webb

Staff size and breakdown: Seven plus 15 columnists and stringers

Print run: 7,000

Physical dimensions of publication: 9 7/8 inches x 12 2/8 inches

Average page count: 36 pages

Area of coverage: San Diego County

Key demographics for readers:
Male: 72 percent
Female: 28 percent
Average age: 43 years
Median age: 43 years
Bachelor’s degree or higher: 56 percent
Household income greater than $100,000: 19.6 percent
Household income greater than $75,000: 29.6 percent
Married or domestic partners: 24.7 percent
Within the next year readers plan to:
Purchase a home: 14.7 percent
Remodel their home: 14.7 percent
Purchase a vacation home: 6.2 percent
Purchase an automobile: 19.5 percent
Purchase a computer: 52.8 percent
Purchase a smartphone: 20.3 percent
Purchase HDTV: 19 percent
Purchase furniture: 24.9 percent
Take a major vacation: 38 percent
*Source: The 2012 Community Marketing Survey (LGBT Consulting Company)

Web site address: www.LGBTweekly.com

*****

Press Pass Q: When did you launch your publication, and what inspired you to do it?

Publisher Stampp Corbin: 2010. I started San Diego LGBT Weekly after San Diego’s publication of record for 23 years went out of business. I wanted to ensure there was a diversity of voices covering the LGBT community in San Diego.

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?

Corbin: There are several native publications and web sites that serve the San Diego LGBT community. LGBT Weekly is unique in our focus on hyper-local news as well as a Washington insider’s view of the national political scene. Having been the national co-chair of the Obama LGBT Leadership Council during the 2008 campaign, I believe I have a unique perspective. Finally, we also have The Pride Card, which is a discount card that can be used at more than 75 businesses in San Diego. More than 12,000 people carry the LGBT Weekly Pride Card.

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

Corbin: The fact that the previous publication, the Gay and Lesbian Times, left many advertisers high and dry. Some thought we were affiliated and it took two years to convince some clients that we had nothing to do with the Gay and Lesbian Times.

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

Corbin: As a Harvard MBA, I gauge success by whether the publication is making money. We have moved beyond break-even. The second measure of success is the influence you have over the community. In the last election, our publication was influential in ensuring the defeat of an extreme right-wing gay Republican for mayor.

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

Corbin: During the last year, we have downsized the number of print issues we distribute because so many people are accessing our content on the web, through our mobile application, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

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

Corbin: Our challenge is the same as most publications. We have a strong print presence, but advertisers are more interested in other media to touch the potential customer. That said, since we have gone biweekly, interest in the print publication has surged. Advertisers are taking advantage of our product portfolio to develop customized LGBT marketing plans. (See “San Diego LGBT Weekly goes biweekly, but the name remains the same,” http://presspassq.blogspot.ca/2013/06/in-news-san-antonios-lgbt-media-past.html.)

PPQ: How does the publication differ now from its original inception, and what is the most popular feature?

Corbin: Our publication has grown to be a mix of three magazines: Time, People and Entertainment Weekly. Our predecessor was more political and was trying to push the publisher’s views. My “Message from the Publisher” is one of the most-read features followed by a column written by national activist and San Diego resident Nicole Murray Ramirez.

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

Corbin: The most surprising feedback we have received from readers is why we publish all viewpoints, even if they disagree with our editorial stance. Readers have asked, “Why did you print that ‘Letter to the Editor’ when it is in direct contravention to, and critical of, your ‘Message from the Publisher’ or one of your columnists?” My response has always been that we are a community newsmagazine and we give everyone the platform to voice their opinions, even if they are different from ours. Why wouldn’t we do that?

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

Corbin: This is a hard business. The transition from print to web has to be done delicately. Don’t forsake your print readers. Remember they are the ones who have kept you alive to this point. Ask yourself how you are going to monetize the web. Web pricing is a lot cheaper than print, but the effectiveness for the advertiser is often not as good. Why? Print publications have the ad right in front of the reader as they read content. Most web ads are ignored unless you are forced to watch them. So you decrease your costs by moving to web only, but it may not be as effective for the advertiser. I would call that a dilemma.

Volume 15
Issue 4
PRESSING QUESTIONS

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

TOP STORY: On the frontlines of marriage history

LGBT media brought personal stories, as well as analysis, to Supreme Court’s landmark marriage decisions
by Chuck Colbert

Just in time for major Pride celebrations cost to coast, two landmark same-sex marriage decisions came down from the U.S. Supreme Court on June 25. Hollingsworth v. Perry, concerning Proposition 8, and U.S. v. Windsor, concerning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), unleashed an avalanche of media coverage, mainstream and LGBT. 

The sheer volume of reporting and commentary was overwhelming. Coverage spanned a sweeping range, everything from what the high court said in the rulings, to the decisions’ political and legal ramifications, to the practical effect of extending more than 1,000 federal benefits to married gay couples in 13 states and spouses of services members, to an outpouring of joy in Pride celebrations from New York to Chicago to Minneapolis to San Francisco and beyond. Within days, same-sex marriage returned to California.

In a few words, the DOMA decision striking down Section 3 and the Prop. 8 ruling were a “BFD,” as Joe Biden would say.  For veteran journalist Lisa Keen, gay media were compelled to report on “the contents and impact of the decisions because they were a matter of historic record that any LGBT news outlet was obliged to cover even though a thousand mainstream news organizations were doing the same,” she said. Keen News Service (KNS) provides gay-themed content for a variety of LGBT publications nationwide.

Subsequent KNS coverage, Keen explained, looked “at the difference it makes to the decisions that Obama is in office, compared to how the Bush administration ignored the Lawrence [v. Texas] ruling in 2003, coupled with some details on how quickly same-sex couples might be able to access federal benefits. And I've followed up on how DOMA might affect other states such as New Jersey, Nevada, Arizona.”

It was 10 years to the day, June 25, 2003, when the Supreme Court struck down all anti-sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas, an equally historic decision of great import for LGBT rights and liberation.

How much of an appetite did gay readers have for news of the big victories?

“Our community is probably eager to read everything they can about various aspects of the decisions, the plaintiffs’ reactions, stuff like that,” said Keen. “But they don't need all of us doing the same thing. So I leave all the color, human interest pieces to the mainstream media and others and — after getting the basics in about the decisions — try to focus on filling in with stories that are of practical benefit to LGBT readers and which are not already covered by widely read mainstream sources like AP.”

Uniquely based in the nation’s capital, the Washington Blade had a front-row seat to gay history. Its staffers filed front-line stories from the Supreme Court with reporters covering content of the rulings, lead plaintiffs in both cases, and reactions from community members.

Blade reporter Michael K. Lavers focused on human interest. How the Supreme Court’s decisions “affected real people” was paramount, he said.

One real person, Lavers said, “was a Maryland pastor whom I met outside the court about 30 minutes before the justices issued their decision. He had been married to his now ex-wife with whom he had five children before he came out in the early 2000s. He married his husband in Massachusetts in 2004 shortly after the commonwealth's landmark Goodridge ruling took effect.”

Lavers also covered a group of 25 gay and lesbian couples from Ohio and other states that do not allow same-sex marriage. The couples had traveled to the District of Columbia to exchange vows in a mass wedding at the steps of the Supreme Court on June 21 — four days before the landmark rulings.

“Officers who oversee security at the Supreme Court allowed the couples to walk down the court steps after they tied the knot,” he said.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in D.C. since March 2010.

As fate would have it, Lavers was on hand at Cambridge, Mass., City Hall on May 17, 2004, reporting on the first same-sex couples in the U.S. to receive marriage licenses. “It is simply remarkable to see how far the marriage equality movement has come over the last decade,” he said. “It was increasingly difficult to keep my own emotions in check as my colleagues and I continued to report the impact of the Supreme Court rulings on same-sex couples, LGBT Americans, and the country as a whole. That said, our decision to humanize the story really illustrated the true impact of these landmark decisions,” said Lavers.

The Supreme Court’s rulings were “huge” and came at deadline crunch-time for New York-based Gay City News (GCN), said editor Paul Schindler, “since the NYC Pride March was on June 30. Our 100-page Pride issue was due at the printer on Tuesday night, June 25.

“When we learned definitively that the rulings were coming down at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, we scrambled to rearrange our print time to get those stories into print and were able to provide a complete legal overview from New York Law School Professor Arthur Leonard, our legal correspondent, as well as provide coverage of the Edie Windsor press conference at the LGBT Community Center, the rally at the Stonewall Inn that afternoon at 5:30 p.m., and the Prop 8 challengers' press conference.”

New York City resident and lead plaintiff Edie Windsor provided GCN with an obvious and easy local angle.

Meanwhile, Schindler’s editorial assessed the current state of the movement, that is to say the meaning of the wins, but also the lack of a transgender civil rights law in New York State and the reversals from the Voting Rights Act.

In all, “We were able to get the paper to the printer at 9 p.m. that evening and reach the streets late Thursday evening, about five hours after we would have done so had we gone to print on Tuesday night,” he said. “Naturally, we covered online after publication the resumption of marriage in California on June 28 and followed up, in a subsequent print issue, the rush of new marriages in New York after the DOMA ruling and national stories on the hopes for further progress on marriage equality across the country.”

Deadline crunch time was also on the mind of San Francisco-based Bay Area Reporter’s editor Cynthia Laird, even as the three-hour time difference allowed some breathing room.

“Thankfully this is one time when I'm glad we're on Pacific Time,” she said. “The Supreme Court decisions started coming out about 7 a.m. our time, so by the time it was over, my reporter here had time to get up to city hall for the news conference. My photographer was there to get pictures, and it all got in our Pride issue, which had an earlier deadline than usual.”

Laird relied on a national reporter, who quickly filed a story on the court decisions themselves. “I ended up combining the national-local into one story since we were crushed for time and didn't have much space by that point,” she said. “When the 9th Circuit lifted its stay two days later, we got the story up on our blog, and continued updating throughout the weekend,” which spilled over into Pride, Sunday, June 30.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” said the late civil-rights leader, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  And seemingly, for LGBTs that arc is extending equality and liberty at a surprisingly fast pace. Veteran reporter and editor Karen Ocamb at Los Angeles-based Frontiers took that extension as a lens for her coverage.

“The passage of Prop 8 [in 2008] profoundly shook a generation of somewhat entitled young LGBT people,” she explained. “Marriage became a matter of equality and civil rights. We tried to cover almost every angle: the founding of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the filing of the federal lawsuit, what that meant, the backlash, the people involved and almost every angle and color of the Prop 8 case.

“Frankly, this was hometown news and lots of folks, especially in West Hollywood, actually know Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo [the plaintiffs in the Prop 8 challenge], as well as Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin and AFER board president Bruce Cohen, who have been on the political entertainment scene for a while. That lent a certain air of intimacy and urgency to the news coverage. And with people now engaged in the struggle for marriage equality, I’ve been putting together a photo essay on the arc of marriage history in Los Angeles, starting with the cover of the L.A.-based ONE Magazine in August 1953 entitled “Homosexual Marriage?” A little historical context made easy.”

Certainly, same-sex marriage has traveled a rocky road in California.  Ocamb recalled its path.

“Having been around for a while now, one of the things I can contribute is historical context,” she said. “During one of the first community meetings with the leaders of the No on Prop 22 campaign in 2000, for instance, I asked if they noticed that the auditorium at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center was not even half filled. They were focused on raising money to produce commercials — how were they were going to engage the gay community? They shrugged off the question as if it was incomprehensible that the gay community wouldn’t rush to volunteer, contribute and vote. It was a huge lesson to learn that we can’t take our own community for granted. 

“Since then I’ve always asked how leaders and organizations try to engage the LGBT voter in a particular political campaign or effort. That includes asking former Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson at that first AFER in May 2009, ‘Why should the gay community trust you?’”

Sure enough, the landscape of marriage equality is poised to expand, with Illinois, New Jersey and Hawaii topping the list of likely next possibilities. Beyond 2014, other states may well figure as battlegrounds, including Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Nevada and New Mexico.

The ACLU has filed suit in Pennsylvania, challenging the Keystone State’s gay marriage ban. Even before that lawsuit, Central Voice, based in the state capital of Harrisburg, reported on a Pennsylvania couple who found an interesting way around the state’s version of DOMA: The younger gay man, John, 65, adopted his partner, Gregory, 73. The two are now legally father and son. Central Voice broke the story, which ABC News reported nationwide.

Volume 15
Issue 4
TOP STORY