Thursday, February 19, 2015

Global LGBT survey looking to partner with media outlets

by Chuck Colbert

Community Marketing Inc. (CMI), a gay-owned San Francisco-based consumer-research company, is gearing up to launch its 9th Annual Global LGBT Community Survey. The survey will be fielded April 15-May 30. LGBT media outlets can register now at .

In order to participate, publishers must promote the survey to their readers through all outlets — website, social media, mobile, email and print. After the study ends, CMI will send a copy of the full report. If media outlets generate a minimum of 200 completed surveys (bronze level), CMI provides demographic information about readers. If a publication generates 500 surveys (gold level) or 1,000 (platinum level), CMI provides additional benefits, including additional filter(s) on respondents — for example, readers age 35 years and younger — and special mention and logo inclusion in the U.S. report.

The importance of the survey — and LGBT media participation — cannot be overstated insofar as the survey provides useful data for gay media publishers and their sales teams, according to the company. For example, CMI’s survey includes information on financial confidence and concerns, beverage consumption, real estate, LGBT terminology and communications, brand recognition, sports interaction and engagement, family dynamics, and news media interaction — and perhaps the most important data is that of purchasing behavior.

The results of LGBT media reader surveys can be used for advertising and promotional purposes as well as to establish the age profile of your readership from a third-party source, which can be important for alcohol-related advertising. 

In addition to providing overall LGBT market-specific data, the survey also gives publication-specific data to participating gay media outlets.

CMI “is helping to promote the gay and lesbian market," said Todd Evans, president and chief executive officer of LGBT ad placement company Rivendell Media (which also publishes Press Pass Q). "Right now, beside Rivendell with the annual Gay Press Report, they are the only other company I know doing that.”

In all, the benefits of CMI’s data for individual LGBT publications are three-fold, explained Rivendell’s Evans, noting that participation in the survey is free.

"They get their own reader demographics. They get facts and figures for sales leads. They are helping the whole gay market by stimulating sales and segments where it makes sense,” said Evans. “Madison Avenue is all about independent fact and figures. And without CMI doing these surveys, we would have to pay for our own. Many gay media outlets did for many years to stimulate the market and make news. In advertising, it’s is all about justifying ad-buying decisions. There is a business case for participating.”

For more information and to register to participate, go to

Volume 16
Issue 11

Arkansas monthly may have reached the end of The Read

by Joe Siegel

The Read, billed as Arkansas' premier LGBT newspaper, has suspended publication.

The monthly newspaper was being produced by the Living Affected Corporation,  a nonprofit based in North Little Rock. The organization was founded in 2008 “to promote empowerment and inclusion while decreasing health disparities through education and advocacy in marginalized communities.”

Its new Vision Statement reads: “We are the statewide organization that is informed and connected to change the social construct of the community we serve by improving basic human rights.” 

The Read's inaugural issue was published last May. Five thousand copies of each issue were being distributed statewide. Features included local and national news, entertainment, classifieds, gossip, LGBTQ health and event listings.

In a pitch to advertisers, The Read cited the U.S. Census Bureau's suggestion that as many as 100,000 LGBT people live in Arkansas.

Managing Editor Cornelius Mabin said that although there was enormous support for The Read, it did not translate to advertising revenue.

“Finding advertisers has been extremely hard,” admitted Tonya Estell, editorial director for The Read. “Some people love the fact that it is newsprint, other people are telling us newsprint is a dying art form.”

Estell believes advertisers may be apprehensive about being a part of the state's only LGBTQ publication.

“There were a few diehard advertisers at the beginning, but soon this too fell short as we did not have a committed salesperson and oftentimes I found myself attempting to reach out during social visits,” Mabin said. 

The Read was also unable to garner interest from area businesses even as it offered an online edition. Mabin said he sought partnerships with online content providers to allow them a venue to advertise their products.

There were other difficulties as well.

“We were using an individual who started out with us, but moved to New England where they were trying to offer production assistance at their leisure, which often became delays, unrealized last minute edits and other production issues that became nightmarish,” Mabin explained. “Our staff size was only four people and we had limited experience with producing a monthly newspaper nor dealing with the crushing need to constantly market for advertisers and all that comes with that.”

Estell is hopeful The Read will be able to survive, but acknowledges a degree of uncertainty.

“We don't know yet where our money is coming from,” Estell said. “[Living Affected Corporation] is a non-profit 501c3 organization and we run on grants and contracts, and right now we don't have a grant or a contract to publish our newspaper.”

Mabin was feeling less optimistic when contacted by Press Pass Q.

“Currently we have experimented with a smaller in-house printed version that may fill the void of the larger tabloid version. However, from a financial standpoint, I have determined that the numbers don't add to up to cover all the expenses needed to continue this venture.”

Volume 16
Issue 11

Former BP CEO now shareholder in Gay Star News

by Chuck Colbert

Gay Star News Ltd., an international online news service based in London, announced this month that Lord John Browne of Madingley has become a shareholder in the business, taking a 12.5 percent stake. Brown is the former CEO of BP (British Petroleum), one of the world"s largest gas and oil companies. He made international headlines in 2007 when he resigned from BP after a London tabloid outed him as gay.

Gay Star News ( is a global LGBT website offering the latest news as well as commentary, features and wide-ranging lifestyle coverage. 

Seven years after his resignation as CEO of BP, Lord Browne wrote “The Glass Closet: Coming Out is Good Business” (, a book about the acceptance and inclusion of LGBT people in business. The book urges LGBT people in the workplace — including senior executives — to come out in order to improve their lives and the lives of their co-workers as well as to improve the bottom line.

Browne has since become a high profile advocate for greater openness in the corporate world.

"When I wrote ‘The Glass Closet,’ I always hoped that it would grow into something more than just a book," he said in a press statement. “Gay Star News provides the perfect platform for that growth. I am looking forward to bringing the messages of ‘The Glass Closet’ to a wider audience, supporting Gay Star News in its next phase of development, and improving the environment for LGBT people in business around the world."

Tris Reid Smith, editor and co-founder of Gay Star News, added, "I am immensely proud we have a business leader of the international standing of Lord Browne joining our team of shareholders. This is a milestone in the development of Gay Star News — coming after a January in which we celebrated our third anniversary and saw over 5 million readers visit the site. Lord Browne’s involvement will help us offer even more to readers, clients and stakeholders."

Gay Stars News is read in countries around the world. Its largest audiences are in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Germany.

Gay Star News employs 18 staff and freelancers who are based around the world, with locations including London, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney.

Lord Browne’s investment in Gay Star News is part of the media organization’s long-term plan to add expansive LGBT business coverage to their editorial mix.

Volume 16
Issue 11

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Camp Magazine of Kansas City

by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: Greater Kansas City and select cities in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Arkansas. 

Year founded: June 2004

Staff size and breakdown [writers, sales reps., etc.]: Independently owned by John Long and CampOut LLC.  Writers are freelance and vary from 10-15 per issue on average. Two positions are contracted to a graphic designer and editor. One distribution person. No sales representative; publisher and editorial director John Long does that.

Physical dimensions of publication: Magazine trim size 8 1/4” x 10 1/4”

Average page count: 32 pages

Print run: 5,000 copies on average



Press Pass Q: What part of Camp Magazine is the most popular?  

Publisher John Long: I’d say community stories about individuals or organizations in the LGBT community. Camp is not a lifestyle publication and therefore we focus on community news in both current LGBT events and local entertainment. However we’re also known for our creative covers and often feature the actors of the satirical Late Night Theatre ensemble in their productions. I’ve been told by many readers that they look forward to our issues every month just to see our covers.

PPQ: Who came up with the name? What does it mean?

Long: The founding owners were Jim Gabel and myself. We were actually surprised when we did the trademark search that there were no other LGBT magazines with this iconic name and we created a national trademark. There are a few gay bars around the world named Camp or Kamp. We came up with the name for two reasons. The primary definition is because we serve the LGBTQ and allied communities so in that sense we are all in the same camp of “similar ideals” as well as the more theatrical use of the word “campy.” We use the dictionary definition of the word as such: Camp (1) (kamp) n. a group of people with the same ideals. Camp (2) adj. exaggerated in style, especially for humorous effect.

PPQ: How have readers responded? What feedback have you received?

Long: We founded Camp in 2004 because the last LGBT magazine [in the area] ceased publication and we felt the community needed a local LGBT magazine. There was an expensive LGBT lifestyle magazine in the market during our first few years, but they struggled financially and ceased publication. Readers have responded loyally to Camp as their local magazine. We’re often guests on the local LGBT radio magazine, “The Tenth Voice.” We create themed issues for the AIDS walk, the Missouri Gay Rodeo Association, SAVE Inc. (an AIDS service organization), Heartland Men’s Chorus and in the past we have done the official Pride Guides for several years. 

PPQ: What challenges have you had to overcome in the last decade?

Long: Several years after launching as a monthly, we thought it might be more timely if we published every two weeks to keep news more current and also open the opportunity for advertising that needed a frequency more immediate than monthly. We published bi-weekly for two years before going back to monthly. It was a costly mistake since we doubled our expenses by coming out twice a month but didn’t necessarily double our revenue. 

PPQ: What challenges are you facing right now?

Long: Challenges today are to stay relevant as a monthly LGBT magazine when we’re competing with social media and daily updates.  Everyone these days is a Facebook reporter and shares whatever breaking story they see. Everything is “breaking,” which is obviously not something you can do as a monthly publication. So we stay with our core mission to cover the community and do in-depth stories on individuals and organizations. 

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

Long: We’ve changed probably in three ways. We began in a newspaper format with three to five lead stories on the front page that would jump inside the magazine. Two years later, we changed format to a single image cover and immediately noticed our distribution of copies increased dramatically. One of our distribution locations said that in the past format, “people thought we looked too serious.”  
And in June, 2012, we came out with a smaller trim format of 8 1/4” x 10 1/4” from the former tabloid trim size of 10 1/4” x 13”.  That was only to be for a special June Pride issue, but the response from distribution points and readers was that they loved the smaller trim size because it was easier to place in distribution spots and easier to read in a more compact size. So at that point, we never did go back to the tabloid size and have stayed in that current magazine trim size ever since.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make?

Long: It’s difficult to say just one. We can always think of ways we would like to improve our publications. But if it was one change, I would love to print on glossy magazine stock or at least the covers on that stock.

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

Long: I’d say 8. Most issues often feature one or two stories about our straight allies. I like the fact I can walk into coffee houses and see people I know are straight reading Camp without any shame. 

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

Long: Before Camp, Jim Gabel and I formed a fundraising bicycle ride called PrideRide, and we ran that for five years. The money raised was for organizations that served the LGBT community. We turned it over to AIDS Walk and they have made it much more successful as the AIDS Bicycle Cruise. So that gave me a beginning in Kansas City activism, which I’ve tried to reflect in Camp.  
Camp also has an editorial page in every issue, usually written by me, where we offer opinion. Several years ago, I spoke out in the editorial in favor of voting for the smoking ban in bars. That was probably not my smartest move since gay bars were so full of smokers and I was pointed out by many for my personal opinion that smoking in bars is a health issue for employees and customers, not just a personal freedom issue. Thankfully only a few people had that negative opinion and once they realized smoking inside was gone forever, they got used to it.

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

Long: Years ago I received a very hateful letter from a male reader who said we had too many drag queens on our covers and that “maybe I was a drag queen or my lover was a drag queen.” I thought that was funny since at the time I think we had printed only eight covers in three years with drag and most of them were males dressed as women for Late Night Theatre productions.

PPQ: What is the biggest story Camp magazine has reported?

Long: That’s a tough question to answer after 10 years of publishing. Since we’re a monthly, it’s difficult to break a story. But I think one of our biggest stories is in our current February 2015 issue. It’s a cover story on a straight mother, Debi Jackson, and her activism in supporting her seven-year-old transgender daughter who decided to start living as a female at the age of four. Debi Jackson will be speaking at the Human Rights Campaign’s “Time to Thrive” conference in February and she is also the president of our local PFLAG group.

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

Long: As a former magazine consultant who saw my share of magazine mistakes and failures from clients who had hired me to fix their problems, I’d say the same thing to someone in the LGBT media as I’d say to the straight media, and that is: Stay true to the needs of your market, and publish for your market, not yourself. The biggest mistake I’ve seen is when people think of their media as “their baby” and they spend money they can’t afford or go off in directions the community hasn’t asked for. Their publication becomes nothing more than a vanity magazine supporting their own ego and they end up going out of business.

Volume 16
Issue 11


(What’s happening at your publication? Let us know at

BAY AREA REPORTER, based in San Francisco, entered its 45th year of publication with its January 1, 2015, issue.

#BOOM MAGAZINE, based in St. Louis, has migrated its website to the first-of-its-kind .LGBT top-level domain (TLD),

DAILY QUEER NEWS ( celebrated its 10th anniversary in January 2015.

GAY CITY NEWS, based in New York City, entered its 14th year of publication with its January 8, 2015, issue.

GAY SAN DIEGO entered its sixth year of publication with its January 9, 2015, issue.

GRAB MAGAZINE, based in Chicago, entered its sixth year of publication with its January 13, 2015, issue.

LIVING OUT, based in Long Island’s Woodbury, N.Y., entered its third year of publication with its December 2014/January 2015 issue.

OUT & ABOUT NASHVILLE entered its 14th year of publication with its January 2015 issue.

OUT IN JERSEY, based in Trenton, N.J., entered its 20th year of publication with its December 2014 / January 2015 issue.

PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS entered its 39th year of publication with its January 2, 2015, issue.

Q MAGAZINE, based in Key West, Fla., entered its 10th year of publication with its January 2015 issue.

THE RAINBOW TIMES, based in Boston, entered its eighth year of publication with its January 8, 2015, issue.

SAN DIEGO LGBT WEEKLY switched to a smaller magazine-style format in January 2015.

SAN DIEGO PIX MAGAZINE, a monthly publication focusing on LGBT-themed photography, published is 100th issue in November 2014.

SOUTH FLORIDA GAY NEWS (SFGN), based in Wilton Manors, Fla., entered its sixth year of publication with its January 7, 2015, issue.

ANDREW SULLIVAN, a former editor of THE NEW REPUBLIC and contributor to THE ADVOCATE, has retired from blogging in order to focus writing books and essays. He founded his THE DAILY DISH blog in 2000.

VITAL VOICE, based in St. Louis, Mo., celebrated five years since it relaunched as a lifestyle magazine. The January 2015 issue also marks the second anniversary of its presence in Kansas City.

THE WASHINGTON BLADE, based in Washington, D.C., entered its 46th year of publication with its January 2, 2015, issue.

WATERMARK, based in Orlando and Tampa, Fla., entered its 22nd year of publication with its January 1, 2015, issue.

DAVID WEBB, a former contributor to PRESS PASS Q, has resumed writing columns for the Dallas Voice. He was on staff there for seven years (2001 to 2008) has been a contributor to the newspaper for the past seven years.

Volume 16
Issue 11