Tuesday, December 22, 2015


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

JIM ALBRIGHT, formerly of Oakland Park, Fla.-based HOTSPOTS MAGAZINE, has joined the sales staff at Wilton Manors-based SOUTH FLORIDA GAY NEWS.
Jim Albright

BRIAN T. CARNEY, a freelance writer for THE WASHINGTON BLADE, was elected to a two-year term on the Steering Committee for PennGALA (the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alumni Association of the University of Pennsylvania).

ECHO MAGAZINE, based in Phoenix, Ariz., entered its 27th year of publication with its October 2015 issue.
Brian T. Carney

GAY PARENT MAGAZINE, based in Forest Hills, N.Y., celebrated its 17th anniversary with its November/December 2015 issue.

ERIC GINSBERG was hired by OUT & ABOUT NASHVILLE as director of sales, marketing and events. He replaces SCOTT BRYANT, who left at the end of June 2015. Managing print editor JAMES GRADY filled the position temporarily.

EXIT MAGAZINE, based in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa, published its 300th issue in November 2015.

GUY MAGAZINE, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., launched a Central Florida edition — covering Orlando, Tampa and St. Petersburg — on December 3, 2015. SCOTT SPAR is publisher and FRED BIRKS is advertising manager of the new publication, which will be published monthly in the short term.

THE LEATHER JOURNAL, based in Hollywood, Calif., celebrated its 28th anniversary at a party in Asbury Park, N.J., on November 28, 2015.

ODYSSEY MAGAZINE, based in Jersey City, N.J., entered its 7th year of publication with its October 21, 2015, issue.

THE WASHINGTON BLADE, based in Washington, D.C., launched a new business column entitled, “Comings & Goings,” which will highlight the accomplishments of LGBT professionals in the area. The column is written by contributor PETER ROSENSTEIN.

WINDY CITY TIMES, based in Chicago, entered its 31st year of publication with its September 30, 2015, issue.

THE WORD, based in Indianapolis, Ind., unveiled its redesign with its October 2015 issue. In the same issue, the newspaper merged with its sister publication UP DOWNTOWN, a general circulation publication, which is now a section of The Word. This will also include a map of Indianapolis that showcases LGBT and ally-owned and operated businesses in every issue.


PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS will have an advertising sales rep position for an energetic, self-motivated individual with outstanding communication and sales skills available the beginning of February.

Qualifications: Two years of successful sales experience, preferably in print and/or online sales; Strong verbal and writing skills; Excellent at relationship building; Ability to work independently and part of a team; Knowledge of local media market and/or LGBT community a plus; Computer literacy a must

Our ideal candidate should have polished sales skills with experience in lead generation and cold calling, combined with a track record of closing the sale.

Salary/Benefits: Salary plus commission. Our benefits package includes medical and dental insurance, paid holidays, 401K plan, vacation and a non corporate work environment.

Qualified individuals interested in applying are encouraged to send their résumé to greg@epgn.com.

Volume 17
Issue 9

TOP STORY: Journalists group to offer training for improved HIV coverage

NLGJA granted $130K by CDC for launch program
by Chuck Colbert

The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) has received a five-year renewable grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to deliver journalism training that will enhance strategies and skills in covering HIV/AIDS.

"NLGJA shares in CDC’s confident resolve that the battle to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS is a winnable one," said Adam Pawlus, NLGJA’s executive director, in a press statement. "The media can serve as a bridge, linking those at greatest risk of contracting HIV with the facts, tips and action steps of the Act Against AIDS campaigns and other CDC initiatives along with other research and information."

The grant is part of CDC’s Partnering and Communicating Together to Act Against AIDS program, administered by its Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention’s Communication Branch. Other grantees include organizations addressing media or health issues focused on serving the African American, Latino and LGBT communities.

With the grant to NLGJA, $130,000 in the first year through fall 2016, the association of LGBT journalists would provide a series of in-person and web-based trainings, fellowships and specially-designed online resources.

These will equip journalists to cover issues and trends related to HIV/AIDS in new ways while reiterating the time-tested basics of talking, testing and treatment. These journalists in turn can better serve their viewers, readers and listeners with important information, especially those in communities and geographic areas most impacted by HIV/AIDS, according to the CDC.

HIV activists and educators voiced praise for NLGJA’s grant.

“Wow, this is really terrific,” said Mark King, who blogs on his web site, My Fabulous Disease www.MyFabulousDisease.com, a health and wellness site. “This HIV educational support for journalists couldn't come at a better time. The HIV epidemic has morphed into a story of criminals, injustice, crippling social stigma from within our own community, and the politics of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). 

“Let's take PrEP, for instance. Because the drug Truvada as PrEP was developed without the cooperation of its maker, Gilead Sciences, there was no multimillion-dollar patient and physician educational effort about it when it came on the market. (Gilead has a business model focused on treatment, not prevention). In this vacuum, so much misinformation and stigma about PrEP was allowed to fester — and stories about low efficacy, side effects and the sexual mores of PrEP users spread, all of which has since been debunked.

“The rise in HIV criminalization may be the leading moral issue of our time in HIV advocacy. But outside of a core group of dedicated activists, little is known or understood. I certainly hope this grant increases media capabilities, and as importantly, increases access to those of us actually living with HIV. Our stories should be told by us.”

Sean Strub, activist and author of "Body Counts: A Memoir of Activism, Sex and Survival,” offered his perspective.

“There are three distinct issues that I hope this program from the NLGJA will help address:

“One, the volume of coverage. The attention to the epidemic has waned and it is seldom in the media except when press is prompted by an event (World AIDS Day) or a property interest (pharmaceutical companies, research labs, etc.)

“Two, the depth and perspective reflected in the coverage. Too often it is journalism by press release, without reporters digging in, making the calls, treating claims from pharma with skepticism, and understanding the bigger context that is relevant. Why do we have loads of funding to bring people to Washington to lobby for ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program) funding, but nothing to lobby for price controls, access to generics or to allow states to negotiate the prices for the drugs on their formularies? Why is there so much money available for community groups to promote PrEP, but almost nothing for PEP (post exposure prophylaxis)?  How is PrEP affecting other prevention funding? Why do some informed experts think the promotion of PrEP may lead to a higher rate of HIV among young African-American MSM (men who have sex with men)? What happened to the self-empowerment movement? Why do so many reports and studies say that stigma is the number one obstacle and we must have greater involvement of PLHIV (people living with HIV) in order to stop the epidemic, yet when one looks at the funding, there's nothing for truly effective stigma reduction and there's almost no support for networks of PLHIV? We need journalists who ask these and other questions, not simply report on a press release.

"Three, the voices and role of PLHIV. The mass of AIDS service organizations created in the 1980s were almost all created by people with HIV and their very closest partners and allies. We dominated the boards of directors of those groups. ‘Nothing about us without us,’ was the mantra respected by all. That's almost all gone. We are on the boards of the organizations we created only in token numbers these days, with few exceptions, and sometimes not present at all. What happened? How did the peer-to-peer service delivery network we created revert to the dominant ‘benefactor-victim’ service delivery paradigm? What happened to the respect for the role of PLHIV in policy development and service delivery? When did we become them?

“I'm delighted to see NLGJA take this on and it is a big task.”

Journalists interested in these free trainings and resources, available to those regardless of NLGJA membership, should contact PACT@nlgja.org to get updates. NLGJA is an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students working from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues. NLGJA opposes all forms of workplace bias and provides professional development to its members.

Volume 17
Issue 9

Florida Agenda launches its own Business Network

by Chuck Colbert

The Florida Agenda, based in Fort Lauderdale, has launched the Florida Agenda Business Network, a new program of the LGBT newspaper “to help small business owners and their supporters connect, network and thrive,” according to a piece by Peter Jackson, president of Multimedia Platforms, Inc. (MMP), publisher of the newspaper and the only publicly-traded LGBT media company. 

The program includes monthly networking events, free business seminars, and marketing and promotional opportunities. The Florida Agenda Business Network aims to recognize and support LGBT entrepreneurs statewide. The program launched a few moths ago with kick off events in South and Central Florida.

With its Business Network, Florida Agenda hopes to join forces with chambers of commerce, small business associations, and resource providers to help build stronger LGBT-owned businesses.

In 2016, Florida Agenda will also host its first annual LGBT Small Business Recognition Awards and Banquet, which will pay tribute to the unsung heroes of enterprise in Florida.

During a recent telephone interview, MMP Chief Executive Officer Bobby Blair explained that the Florida Agenda Business Network “got started four years ago when each month, the publication began gathering community leaders and advertising partners to give them an opportunity to network and promote each other regarding what they were doing. It kept evolving and evolving at each of the events, so now we are doing this kind of event at all our locations."

Over the years, MMP has acquired Los Angeles-based Frontiers Media, New York’s Next magazine, FunMaps, and Guy magazine.

California networking events will begin in 2016, said Blair. A recent event in New York City, sponsored by Next magazine at the W Hotel, drew more than 500 people, he said.

For its part, Guy magazine hosts an entertainment-based “Guys Night Out” event, Blair said.

Altogether, “These events are another way for our readers and advertisers to connect in a very social environment,” he said. “The media business is more than just delivering advertising. It’s about getting out the news, bringing people together, taking a social responsibility to interface with the community. It’s more than putting out print and digital publications and content.”

Volume 17
Issue 9

Bay Windows publisher, editor now host of TV news show

by Chuck Colbert

New England Cable News’ (NECN) “Broadside” has named the publisher of Boston-based Bay Windows as its new host. She replaces the previous host who moved to a similar television news and talk show on WGBH, Boston’s public broadcaster.

Since early October, O’Connell has been hosting "Broadside."  However, next year she will be hosting a new show, "The Take with Sue O’Connell," which will replace “Broadside.” Currently, “Broadside” provides commentary and analysis on the top stories of the day.

Sue O'Connell
O’Connell will continue editing and publishing "Bay Windows" as well as its sister publication, the South End News, a general circulation neighborhood newspaper.

In a Facebook entry on October 6, she praised those in the community who helped her secure the host spot.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” O’Connell wrote. “Wow. Totally overwhelmed by the great support around my new position at NECN. So many of you watched, shared links, and urged NECN to hire me. I truly appreciate it. I promise I won't let you down! More to come as we retool the show!”

During a recent telephone interview, O’Connell spoke about how her new gig came about. “When [previous host] Jim Braude announced that he was leaving NECN and going over the WGBH, I threw my hat in the ring.  NECN knew it was going to keep ‘Broadside’ or a show like it. I started to audition last March. And after many, many auditions, NECN called to tell me I was going to be the host of a brand new show. So I am looking forward to January. The new show, 'The Take,' will be a topic-based news show, but will look at news in as interesting a way as it can. I hope to bring my personality into the mix as much as I can, interviewing newsmakers, lawmakers, entertainers, and people of note in the New England area. I hope to take the show out of the studio as often as I can, go to newsmakers where they are, and use social media to its fullest capacity. ‘Broadside’ does not do that.”

With social media, O’Connell said, the hope is “to stay engaged with our viewers where they happen to be.”

"The Take" will also be different in another way, she explained.  “The show will also not just be posting segments. We will be re-editing the show and posting so people will have better ease of watching it when they check in with their smartphones or iPads.”

Altogether, “We will do what ‘Broadside’ did, but only with me and with a completely fresh and current and forward approach,” O’Connell said. “I think I am the only gay person in New England who has had a show on a major market talk show. NECN is an NBC affiliate, and that’s very exciting.”

Volume 17
Issue 9

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Outword Magazine of Sacramento, Calif.

Interview with Fred Palmer, CEO of Outword Media Marketing and Events
by Joe Siegel

Year founded: 1995

Staff size and breakdown: One full-time art director, one part-time graphics person, one editor, and several contract writers

Physical dimensions of publication: Tabloid size, 13”

Average page count: 28 pages average, a bit larger for special issues like Homes & Gardens and Romance & Weddings; Pride issue is usually 72 pages

Print run: 5,000

Website: www.outwordmagazine.com; Paper is fully functional and downloadable online as a flip version or PDF


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

CEO Fred Palmer: Myself and a designer. We played with the word “out” in many different forms. It was a different world 21 years ago and being out and getting LGBT communications to our community was a different process. It was just print news, no Internet, no websites, no Facebook.

PPQ: What challenge has your publication had to overcome in the last 20 years?

Palmer: The biggest challenge has been the same for any business, surviving ups and downs. The last 10 years have been hard on media as an industry.

PPQ: What challenges is Outword facing now?

Palmer: None, we are doing well.

PPQ: How has Outword changed since it was first launched?

Palmer: Biggest change was online, but we were one of the first to have a fully downloadable copy of the paper. The first company that we hired was expensive and out of Canada. Now it is easy and inexpensive and we use issue.com, like many of us.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make?

Palmer: Have a salesperson other than myself.

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

Palmer: I have always been more of an activist rather than a journalist.

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

Palmer: One reader thanked us for being available and that it helped her to connect with her son who was about to commit suicide; she said we saved his life. One other reader wrote us a letter about a story we ran on self breast examination and said we saved her life, but that since we were gay we were still going to hell.

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

Palmer: Follow your heart but be prepared for a lot of work and not much money.

Volume 17
Issue 9

Sunday, November 22, 2015


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

ECHO MAG, based in Phoenix, Ariz., entered its 27th year of publication with its October 2015 issue.

FLORIDA AGENDA, based in Fort Lauderdale, published its 300th issue on August 19, 2015.

OPTIONS MAGAZINE, based in Providence, R.I., announced that its new calendar editor is SHAUN MILLER.
Hudson Taylor, guest editor
of Washington Blade's
Sports Issue

OUTWORD, based in Sacramento, Calif., celebrated is 20th anniversary with its August 27, 2015, issue.

HUDSON TAYLOR, the founder and executive director of Athlete Ally, a wrestling coach at Columbia University, and a prominent straight ally and LGBT rights activist, was the guest editor of THE WASHINGTON BLADE’s annual Sports Issue published on August 21, 2015.

UNITE INDIANAPOLIS celebrated its first anniversary with its August/September issue. The brand also unveiled UNITE NASHVILLE QUARTERLY, reflecting this edition’s new publishing schedule.

Volume 17
Issue 8

TOP STORY: PGN founder and publisher Mark Segal makes his mark with new memoir

by Chuck Colbert

Mark Segal wears many hats. He is an activist, founder and publisher of Philadelphia Gay News (PGN), civic leader, political operative, and national LGBT leader.  Segal is also often referred to as the dean of American gay journalism. Now, with the publication of his memoir, “And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality,” he dons the hat of author.

By several measures, the book is a hit. Reviews have been positive. Within one month of its publication and after several readings in Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C., the publisher has ordered a second printing. “And I Then Danced” is now a number-one LGBT bestseller. The book is also being promoted in some unusual ways — on billboards and taxicabs.

In 302 pages, Segal’s memoir traces his humble beginnings, growing up in a South Philadelphia housing project to his high point of dancing with his husband at the White House. Along the way, readers are treated with decades of gay history and LGBT liberation.

A Philadelphia Inquirer story put it this way: “In his memoir, without him saying it — maybe not even realizing it — gay icon Mark Segal is transformed from a long-haired ‘left-wing pinko fag’" social outcast into a bald, suit-wearing, political-power insider. A national LGBT leader, the South Philly-born Segal was at the 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village, the Bunker Hill of gaydom.”

During a recent telephone interview, Segal said, “I wrote the book because for years people have been telling me history is part and parcel of our struggle, and it needs to be recorded. I was so busy going from project to project, I never had time to look back. It took a non-gay friend (Comcast executive vice president and chief diversity officer David L. Cohen) to make the point to me how important [the history] was, and why I needed to write the book.”

One of the ways Segal made his historical mark was by interrupting media personnel on the air to raise LGBT visibility.

Perhaps the most famous “zap” targeted Walter Cronkite, when Segal invaded his CBS News studio and flashed a sign — "Gays Protest CBS Prejudice" — on his evening broadcast. As Segal wrote in his memoir, “As millions watched [on Dec. 11, 1973], I sat on his desk and held the sign right into the camera lens so that everyone could see the words.”

During the phone interview, Segal said that he had no goals once he set out to write his memoirs. “The book changed in many ways from the beginning. I wrote it with flashbacks to start out each chapter. The biggest change came when editor Michael Dennehy helped me craft the 15 chapters into the book’s final form. What surprised me was how many things I was involved in. My first reaction was that no one is going to believe one person did all of this.”

Segal said the two touchstones people ask about are “Stonewall and Cronkite.”

“The other thing readers like is my interaction with the president. I was surprised by how much interaction there had been,” he said. “Readers are also touched by the personal stories, which really surprised me.”

Of course, in “And Then I Danced,” Segal recounts the history of PGN, from its humble beginnings to a 2014 awards dinner where the newspaper received a national award for its investigative series on the murder of a local transgender woman.
PGN's Mark Segal (right) with Rivendell Media's Todd Evans
at a book signing at New York's 30 Rockefeller Center

He writes in his book, “By late 1975, we were laying out the first edition of the paper, which was to be issued in January 1976.  Never did I expect the battles that would follow over journalism.  Our vending boxes would be bombed, and we would clean them out, repaint them, and put them back. People would run over them with their cars, and we would, again, clean them up, repaint them, and put them back out. People threw bricks into our windows and sprayed graffiti all over the building. The death threats were something we got used to. My being put on the American Nazi Party’s hit list in their magazine was a little bit more unique.

“I can’t help but get emotional when I think about the beginnings of our newspaper. We were in a building with no electricity, no plumbing, and it leaked so badly that we needed a plastic tarp when it rained. Our bathrooms were cans in the basement. At times, the only way we could pay our bills was to use the quarters from the vending boxes.”

And yet, PGN, which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year, has grown to become one the nation’s most respected LGBT weekly newspapers, housed in its own building.

Todd Evans, chief executive officer and president of Rivendell Media (as well as publisher of Press Pass Q), praised Segal “for making Philadelphia Gay News a force to be reckoned, politically, economically, and journalistically in the city of Philadelphia.”

Volume 17
Issue 8

SIDEBAR: The Advocate serializes Mark Segal’s “And Then I Danced”

by Chuck Colbert

Beginning November 16, 2015, The Advocate magazine obtained the rights to serialize excerpts from LGBT pioneer Mark Segal’s long-anticipated memoir, “And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality.”

"Mark Segal is a beloved and respected activist for the LGBT movement, and he's a pivotal voice to tell our story," said Lucas Grindley, editorial director for Here Media, in a press release. "It's important that LGBT history be told by those who worked directly to shape it — because our story must be remembered accurately, and with the passion it deserves."

Excerpts were scheduled to appear on November 16, 18, and 20, 2015, with remembrances spanning from the Stonewall riots to President Obama.

“And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality” is published by Akashic Books, which describes itself as a Brooklyn-based independent company “dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction by authors who are either ignored by the mainstream, or who have no interest in working within the ever-consolidating ranks of the major corporate publishers.”

Volume 17
Issue 8

Publisher of Indy’s The Word to pilot PrideFlight2018 to promote LGBT rights

by Chuck Colbert

Last month, DJ Doran, the publisher of the Midwest’s largest circulation monthly LGBTQ newspaper, "The Word," launched a new venture called PrideFlight2018.

In the spring of 2018, Doran will attempt to become the first openly gay pilot to circumnavigate the globe on a goodwill mission supporting LGBT communities, groups, and organizations worldwide.

The project will be driven entirely through volunteer enthusiasm with the critical assistance of a Fundable campaign (http://www.fundable.com/prideflight2018), media partners, individual supporters, and an online store selling logo items.

Doran and his crew will be flying a WWII-era DC-3, fully restored to modern standards.
The Word publisher DJ Doran in the plane he will
use for PrideFlight2018

“I chose the DC-3 for its superior airframe and reliability,” said Doran. “The DC-3 revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s with its range of 1,500 miles. The airplane has long had a reputation of being rugged and reliable, which makes it the perfect plane for such a mission.”

The plane will be transported from Mexico to California, where it will undergo the first phase of restoration and remain for the winter before making its way to Indianapolis in the spring of 2016.

The mission will depart Indianapolis in the spring of 2018 with the first legs stopping in New Orleans, Key West, New York, and Goose Bay (Newfoundland, Canada) before braving the dangerous flight across the North Atlantic to Glasgow via Greenland and Iceland. The total journey will be more than 15,000 miles.

PrideFlight2018 will require two years of planning to arrange financing, coordinate international aviation requirements, secure landing rights and specialized flight training, and ensure other mission needs are met.

“This is a goodwill flight supporting LGBTQ communities, organizations and groups worldwide and not a race,” said Doran. “We want to have the flexibility to be able to help where and when we can during this journey, especially since we have such a great resource to use in the DC-3, and that is what will make this circumnavigation so different.”

In addition to modern avionics, the crew will transmit live images from five cameras on board, located on the wings, fuselage and in the cockpit, and will post updates on the PrideFlight2018 blog, prideflight2018.com.

Besides "The Word" (thegayword.com), based in Indianapolis, Doran is also publisher of Gaycation Magazine (gaycationmagazine.com) and Rainbow Tourism (rainbowtourism.com).

Doran is an experienced aviator, which includes a tour in the US Air Force.

Volume 17
Issue 8

Editor of Charlotte’s QNotes resigns after involvement with local Pride group becomes an issue

by Chuck Colbert

Editor Matt Comer resigned in late August after Charlotte, N.C.-based QNotes’ publisher Jim Yarbrough pulled Comer’s commentary on the local Pride celebration.The piece, however, was published on Comer’s blog (http://www.mattcomer.net/1099/quite-simply-the-best-charlotte-pride-ever/).

For Yarbrough, transparency and conflict of interest were major concerns. He offered readers an explanation for pulling the piece (http://goqnotes.com/36426/comers-last-issue/).

“The reason for my not running the piece is because of the lack of transparency around Matt’s involvement with Charlotte Pride and its conflict with his job as editor,” Yarbrough wrote. “Matt’s Charlotte Pride board position (chair, media and marketing) was never revealed to me and was in opposition to our agreement made last year and in violation of Matt’s comment, in writing, that he was not on the board of directors and would only be a volunteer.”

Yarbrough continued, “Approximately two-and-a-half years ago our staff talked about how we have grown journalistically and felt that to do our job well, we would have to back off our personal involvement in areas where our objectivity might be clouded. This became very clear when the LGBT center and Pride separated. There was no way it could be covered objectively by a Pride board member who was also the editor of the paper. Not being transparent to me was inappropriate. This paper, therefore, not being transparent to you, our readers and advertisers, is simply not acceptable to me.”

Reached by phone, Yarbrough declined to comment further.  However, he did point out that there is a difference between a publisher serving on LGBT community boards of directors and an editor serving.

For his part, Comer offered an explanation on his blog. He wrote, “Though the commentary was clearly labeled as commentary and a personal reflection — adequately distinguishing it from news content — Yarbrough felt it was an inappropriate conflict of interest to publish the commentary given my role with Charlotte Pride, despite the newspaper’s overarching institutional conflict of interest.”

Comer continued, “My involvement with local Pride activities and as a committee member working on media and marketing came in 2008 via the direct, personal invitation of Yarbrough, a few short months after I was hired at the newspaper. For most of the years since, I have remained involved as a board member or in some other volunteer role. I currently serve as a board member now. This note is published in an effort to be fully transparent — as it is highly uncommon for news organizations to unpublish content once it has been published. Yarbrough was given advance notice and acknowledged such notice that I would write a note publicly explaining why a decision was made to unpublish this piece of content on QNotes’ website.”

Reached by email, Comer offered a further explanation.

“My voluntary departure from QNotes was the result of a longstanding disagreement between the publisher and me,” he wrote in an email. “This contention stemmed from several unrelated issues, one being my involvement both as a volunteer and a board member for a local community organization, Charlotte Pride.”

Comer continued: "Yarbrough invited me to join the organization’s board shortly after I was hired as editor in 2007. At the time, he served as the group’s co-chair and, later, in other roles. Other staff members at the newspaper, including my predecessor, an associate editor and others, were also intimately involved in the organization for some time. As an institution, the newspaper itself was highly involved in this community organization and other local pride activities for at least two decades. Yarbrough did not disclose this crucial piece of context in his commentary. During my tenure, I consistently addressed this particular institutional conflict of interest in the most transparent and professional manner while avoiding other conflicts. My involvement, as well as Yarbrough’s and the newspaper’s, with this community organization is of general public knowledge in our local community. Contrary to Yarbrough’s commentary, there was never a mutual understanding or agreement among the staff regarding my involvement in this organization.”

Volume 17
Issue 8

OUT makes history by putting sitting president on the cover

by Chuck Colbert

For its OUT 100 issue, OUT Magazine has named President Barack Obama as “Ally of the Year,” with a photo of Obama gracing the cover. This marks the first time in history that a sitting president has been photographed for the cover of an LGBT publication, according to the magazine. The OUT 100 issue includes an exclusive interview with the president in which Obama discusses marriage equality as well as other initiatives that are changing the LGBT landscape in America.

Here are some selected quotes from the Obama OUT cover story.

On his administration’s key focus on LGBT equality: “One of the reasons I got involved in politics was to help deliver on our promise that we’re all created equal, and that no one should be excluded from the American dream just because of who they are. That’s why, in the Senate, I supported repealing DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act]. It’s why, when I ran for president the first time, I publicly asked for the support of the LGBT community, and promised that we could bring about real change for LGBT Americans.”

On the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision: “There had been a remarkable attitude shift — in hearts and minds — across America. The ruling reflected that. It reflected our values as a nation founded on the principle that we are all created equal. And, by the way, it was decades of our brothers and sisters fighting for recognition and equality — and too frequently risking their lives or facing rejection from family, friends, and co-workers — that got us to that moment. So I wasn’t surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision, but, like millions of Americans, I was proud and happy that it came down the way it did — and I was honored to stand in the Rose Garden and reiterate for every American that we are strongest, that we are most free, when all of us are treated equally. I was proud to say that love is love.”

On the controversy surrounding Kentucky clerk Kim Davis: “I am a man of faith and believe deeply in religious freedom, but at the end of the day, nobody is above the rule of law — especially someone who voluntarily takes an oath to uphold that law. That’s something we’ve got to respect.”

On the first influential gay person in his life: “I’m not sure who the first openly gay person I met was, but Dr. Lawrence Goldyn, one of my college professors, is a man who stands out to me. I took his class freshman year at Occidental. I was probably 18 years old — Lawrence was one of the younger professors — and we became good friends. He went out of his way to advise lesbian, gay, and transgender students at Occidental, and keep in mind, this was 1978. That took a lot of courage, a lot of confidence in who you are and what you stand for. I got to recognize Lawrence last year at our Pride Month reception at the White House, and thank him for influencing the way I think about so many of these issues.”

On the generational difference in the attitudes towards homosexuality: “To Malia and Sasha and their friends, discrimination in any form against anyone doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t dawn on them that friends who are gay or friends’ parents who are same-sex couples should be treated differently than anyone else. That’s powerful.”

OUT’s full cover story with the OUT100 2015 “Ally of the Year” President Barack Obama is available online at:

Volume 17
Issue 8

LGBT journalists group looking for convention panel proposals

by Chuck Colbert

With its silver anniversary confab held just a few months ago, the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) is already planning for the next convention. The organization has issued a call to its members for submission of proposals for workshops and breakout sessions.

Requests for presentation proposals lay the basis for the development of the educational portion of the conference.
In 2016, NLGJA hopes to provide more than 30 workshop opportunities to more than 350 conference attendees. Proposals from members are an integral step in the process for the conference planning committee.

Next year’s annual convention and LGBT Media Summit will be held at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach Miami, September 8-11, 2016. 

Anyone interested in presenting during the convention should fill out the Session Proposal Form (http://www.nlgja.org/2016/submit-a-session-proposal/) by the close of business December 16, 2015.

However, submission of a proposal does not guarantee a workshop presentation opportunity at the conference or a seat on a panel. The conference planning committee and NLGJA staff will collect all of the proposals submitted and review them based on the overall content and its relevance to NLGJA members and proposed learning objective.

People will be contacted by January 31, 2016, if their proposal is selected. Questions? Contact NLGJA’s Bach Polakowski at 202-588-9888.

Volume 17
Issue 8

PRESSING QUESTIONS: UNITE Magazine, based in Nashville

Interview with Publisher Joey Amato
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: Nashville, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Virginia

Year founded: 2012

Staff size and breakdown: More than editors, writers, and contributors

Physical dimensions of publication: 8.5” x 11”

Key demographics: Men and women aged 30-55

Print run: Varies by location


PPQ: What part of UNITE Magazine is the most popular?

Amato: The most popular part of UNITE is our covers. People love the various celebrities we were able to feature in our publication.

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

Amato: I did and it was just a word that I thought of when looking at various aspects of the community. Within our own community, we tend to ridicule, tease, bully and divide. So I thought UNITE would be a great name to bring all areas of the LGBT community together.

PPQ: What challenge has your publication had to overcome?

Amato: The move to digital is definitely a challenge, as well as increased competition from other local (non-LGBT) lifestyle publications. As the LGBT community becomes more welcomed, there is less of a need for LGBT-specific venues, so many people just visit mainstream locations. When it comes to ad dollars, these venues don’t necessarily need to target one specific niche in a city.

PPQ: What challenges is UNITE facing now?

Amato: We are trying to find other publishers and/or entrepreneurs who wish to license the UNITE name and brand in their city.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make?

Amato: I would like to see our brand open in more mid-size cities across the country.

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

Amato: No I don’t. I see myself as an entrepreneur who saw a need and filled it within my community.

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

Amato: I always receive emails thanking us for the work we have done and how we are so much more than a bar rag. People keep UNITE on their coffee table, at their office, or read it on a plane. We do not publish any risqué content or ads, so it is a family-friendly publication. The most skin you will ever see is a shirtless fitness trainer.

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

Amato: Do it only if there is a need for it in your community. For example, if there are already four LGBT magazines, there is no need for a fifth. If you live in a community that only has an LGBT newspaper, then a magazine may be needed to complement the paper. This is where it may make sense to license the UNITE brand. We will maintain your website and help with content and design for a very minimal fee.

Volume 17
Issue 8