Sunday, March 27, 2016

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

BETWEEN THE LINES, based in Livonia, Mich., entered its 24th year of publication with its January 7, 2016, issue.

MARK ANTHONY DINGBAUM has joined the CLINTON FOUNDATION as deputy director of communications, digital engagement.

FENUXE, based in Atlanta, entered its seventh year of publication with its January 15, 2016, issue.

THE FIGHT, based in Los Angeles, entered its sixth year of publication in January 2016.

Raymond Kent Fordyce,
formerly of Lambda
Rising Bookstore
RAYMOND KENT FORDYCE, the well-known book buyer at LAMBDA RISING BOOKSTORE in Washington, D.C., died December 24, 2015, in hospice in Southern California from emphysema. He was 72.

GAY CITY NEWS, based in New York City, entered its 15th year of publication with its January 7, 2016, issue.

GAY SAN DIEGO entered its seventh year of publication with its January 8, 2016, issue.

GLOSS, based in San Francisco, entered its 14th year of publication with its January 8, 2016, issue.

GRAB MAGAZINE, based in Chicago, entered its seventh year of publication with its January 12, 2016, issue.

ODYSSEY NY, based in Jersey City, N.J., entered its eighth year of publication with its January 7, 2016, issue.

OUT & ABOUT NASHVILLE entered its 15th year of publication with its January 2016 issue.

PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS teamed up with local production company PersonalCast Studios for a Valentine’s Day promotion offering a free, professionally edited “Love Story,” showcasing personal interviews with couples about their relationships.

THE PRIDE, based in Los Angeles, entered its second year of publication with its December 30, 2015, issue.

THE RAINBOW TIMES, based in Boston, entered its ninth year of publication with its January 7, 2016, issue.

Patricia Bathurst of
San Diego LGBT Weekly
SAN DIEGO LGBT WEEKLY introduced new columnist PATRICIA BATHURST in its January 7, 2016, issue. Her monthly column, “Innovations in Recovery,” addresses the negative impact of addiction and mental health on the LGBT community.

SOUTH FLORIDA GAY NEWS, based in Wilton Manors, Fla., celebrated its sixth anniversary with its January 27, 2016, issue.

TAGG MAGAZINE, based in Washington, D.C., entered its fifth year of publication with its January/February 2016 issue.

THE WASHINGTON BLADE entered its 47th year of publication with its January 1, 2016, issue.

WATERMARK, based in Orlando, Fla., entered its 23rd year of publication with its January 14, 2016, issue.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 17
Issue 12

Frontiers news editor Karen Ocamb laid off by new owners

by Chuck Colbert

Frontiers Magazine news editor and veteran journalist Karen Ocamb broke the story in a Feb. 25 Facebook posting:

“I was just laid off as news editor of Frontiers Magazine and FrontiersMedia.com. The company, Multimedia Platforms Worldwide, is making major changes to the magazine and is building a new website — all of which will be announced later.

“I have never been laid off before so even saying, ‘laid off,’ feels odd. I started my career in the gay press after meeting Frontiers founder Bob Craig in 1988. My first piece for the magazine was about ACT UP storming the FDA and the simultaneous protests here in Los Angeles. It has been an honor and privilege to have covered the HIV/AIDS and LGBT movement since then.”

Bobby Blair, chief executive officer of Multimedia Platforms Worldwide, which also owns New York’s Next magazine, FunMaps, Guy magazine, and Florida Agenda, said the company "found $1.1 million of efficiencies" across the companies, primarily by "reducing print staff." He added that at the same time, the company has created a new website, www.wirld.com, with content focus on Millennials.

"Unfortunately, Karen fell where we realized we were moving toward a digital and Millennial audience, and we wanted to give the generation of Millennials a real shot at creating our content," said Blair.

He added, "Karen did an incredible job and is very much missed. We would like to use her services in the future from time to time, if she would like to."

Karen Ocamb, former news editor
of Frontiers in Los Angeles
In an email interview, Ocamb elaborated on the dismissal. Asked how much a surprise this was for her, she said, “About two weeks before I was terminated, there were rumors that I was on a list to be let go. But since no one from the company had raised that as a possibility, I set it aside and did my work.

“News had always been an anchor for the magazine, no matter how many changes Frontiers went through over the years. But I had my suspicions about how I might fit in. So when I was called in from vacation for a five-minute meeting, I was pretty sure I knew what would happen. Nonetheless, as intellectually prepared as I might have been, there’s still a toll letting go of my long career of community service through Frontiers,” said Ocamb.

Asked if she had any future employment prospects, she said, “I do not have anything lined up yet. I have applied for a consultant position with the National AIDS Monument and the City of West Hollywood that would be a perfect fit, since the reason I got into gay journalism in the first place in 1988 was because I had so many friends dying and I thought reporting would be a contribution I could make to the movement. I have been lucky enough to have a number of editors suggest I pitch them for freelance work, which I am thinking about. I’m already a news junkie in withdrawal, watching CNN and MSNBC nonstop with no place to post. But I’m taking a break first.”

Ocamb also discussed her career with Frontiers:

“My first story for Frontiers was in October 1988 when ACT UP stormed the FDA and I covered the ACT UP protesters who called for parallel tracking of experimental AIDS drugs. I came from a mainstream journalism background so I got a crash course in advocacy journalism and the delicate balance I had to maintain between reporting on people who became friends through other venues such as my 12 Step program. Even the appearance of a conflict of interest could cloud my reputation and soil my goal of delivering reliable news. I determined to never hang out with any of the people I covered, with the one exception for a period of time of attending church and having Sunday brunch with HIV-positive attorney John Duran, with whom I challenged rabidly anti-gay Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition. I have tried to honestly and fairly report on the spectrum of the LGBT community, from ultra-conservative, pro-life Log Cabin Republicans to ultra-liberal Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. I’ve had my share of death threats and angry critics — but I also had the great honor of covering the AIDS crisis. I tried my best to measure up to what I felt was a spiritual obligation to report both the truth and give dignity to people as they were dying.” 

Ocamb also discussed what her being laid off means for LGBT journalists in gay media in the context of the trend away from hard news reporting towards entertainment and lifestyle reporting.

“I’m an old-school journalist so it’s odd to have become a story,” she said. “However, I do recognize that my longevity and my institutional memory suggest that I might bring something unique and valuable to LGBT journalism. Nonetheless, no one is indispensable. I see my being laid off as a purely financial business decision, no matter what direction the new owners may choose. I think the kind of in-depth reporting I do changed fundamentally with confessional blogging, citizen journalism and short-attention-span tweeting of the news. In that glutted context, media outlets — LGBT and straight — are trying to get eyeballs, clicks, buzz in any way they can. I have been encouraged to see some trending back toward long form journalism — but who knows. It’s a rapidly changing media environment.” 

And yet, Ocamb said, it is important to have LGBT reporters covering “our community” in gay media.

“We discovered the importance of covering our own community long ago, when Lisa Ben published an underground newsletter in 1947 called ‘Vice Versa’ to let lesbians in Los Angeles know where to go, and when Mattachine folks at ONE Institute published ONE Magazine in the 1950s that tackled issues that no one else dared speak about, including homosexual marriage. ONE Magazine boldly pressed a lawsuit against the U.S. Post Office that resulted in a lawsuit and a Supreme Court decision that helped pave the way for the sexual revolution in America,” she explained. “But we are still either invisible or controversial or special to the mainstream media, no matter how integrated and acculturated we become. I recently reported on the San Diego police shooting of a gay man and another gay man’s civil rights lawsuit against the San Diego police that suggest that there could be a virtual ‘God squad’ within the department. Mainstream media has not connected the dots, nor seen anything [extraordinary] about either story. 

“However, we see the nuances, the backstory, and the holistic context that comes with being second-class citizens still fighting for equality. Sometimes, when you are blissfully engrossed in being privileged, you don’t know what you don’t know. Or care. But we must. We report on the scope of our very existence.”

LGBT editors and others praised Ocamb’s work.

“Wow, what a loss for [Frontiers],” said Cynthia Laird, news editor of Bay Area Reporter, on Facebook

“New management always thinks they can ‘improve’ the company, ... usually by making huge mistakes like this,” said Chris Cash, managing partner of Georgia Voice. “And I mean HUGE.”

Washington Blade International News Editor Michael K. Lavers offered his perspective.

“Karen has truly paved the way for those of us who are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work in LGBT media,” he said in email correspondence. “I very much appreciate the friendship and the guidance and support she has shown to me throughout my career. I only wish her the very best, and I very much look forward to learning more about her next steps."

David Badash, founder and managing editor of The New Civil Rights Project, offered his thoughts.

“LGBT media is simply following most mainstream media in downsizing staff and gutting budgets so that for too many outlets, who once served as the tribal drum of their community, the only hires are at-home freelancers and the main editorial seems to be infotainment and listicles,” he said in email correspondence. “I don't mean everyone is caving in, but some heavy hitters are. Forget even the prospect of investigative pieces, because they require time and budgets that are beyond the reach of most strapped LGBT media outlets.”

Bob Witeck, chief operating officer and founder of Witeck Communications, said, “I know from experience that Karen embodies everything it means to be a master journalist — her extraordinary attention to detail, a Rolodex equal to none, and a perspective drawn on decades of reporting on our lives and times.”

Mike Rogers, co-owner of RawStory.com, offered his thoughts. “I'm adding my voice to the group of folks above who are not only concerned about what this means for [Southern California] reporting, but also for those who have come to depend on her reports from California to the rest of the country. Since we first met in 2008, I've been a huge fan,” he said.

Jay Blotcher of Public Impact Media Consultants, said in email correspondence, “Allow me to add to the deserved pile of bouquets regarding her dazzling career — and the outrage over Ocamb’s unjust dismissal from Frontiers. This would suggest that yet another LGBT media outlet has decided to jettison real news and focus solely on infotainment. Her separation is a terrible business decision that diminishes the entire LGBT media landscape. Let me be clear — infotainment is different from entertainment. Infotainment may include a speck of news, but it is wrapped in a lot of glitz and dazzle. It accentuates photos and brief items, rather than bona fide reporting.”

TOP STORY
Volume 17
Issue 12

Survey says: LGBTs prefer Hillary over Bernie, 48%-41%

by Chuck Colbert

According to a recent Community Marketing & Insights (CMI) survey of LGBTs, Hillary Clinton topped Bernie Sanders by a seven-point margin, 48 percent to 41 percent.

The question asked respondents, “Which candidate would you vote for, if the election were to be held today?” Answering the same question, Donald Trump captured two percent, with John Kasich and Marco Rubio, each receiving one percent. All other candidates received less than one per cent.

CMI conducted the community poll of 563 LGBT survey respondents between Feb. 7-10, with all participants saying that they were registered to vote in the U.S and planned to vote in the 2016 presidential elections. Respondents haled from 46 states.

In another finding, CMI’s poll found that the Democratic candidates were nearly evenly split on who would be “the most supportive of LGBT civil rights.” Thirty-one percent said Sanders, with 25 percent saying Hillary Clinton. Yet another 37 percent indicated that the two candidates are equally supportive, 5 percent are not sure, and two percent indicated that neither candidate is supportive of LGBT civil rights.

When asked who of the Republican presidential candidates would be “the most supportive of LGBT civil rights,” the results tell an entirely different story. Seventy-three percent indicated that none of the Republican candidates are supportive of LGBT civil rights; six percent selected John Kasich; four percent Donald Trump, and the remaining candidates received two percent or less.

Civil rights issues are of great concern for LGBT survey respondents.  For example, when respondents were asked, “When choosing a President, how important is it to you that the candidate shares the following views on important issues facing Americans today?” Among the 18 issues presented, several civil rights issues emerged as important:

Ninety-eight percent said that “supporting LGBT civil rights” was very or somewhat important.

Ninety-eight percent indicated that “nominating LGBT supportive Supreme Court candidates” is very or somewhat important.

Ninety-six per cent of LGBTs said that “addressing racism/racial inequality in the U.S.” was very or somewhat important. 

These civil rights issues were as important as improving the economy, at 98 percent importance.

On the other hand, conservative issues garnered little support among the LGBT community:

Eighty-nine percent indicated that “reducing or eliminating abortions” is not an important view of their preferred candidate, or is a view they disagree with.

Eighty-seven percent indicated that “repealing the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare” is not an important view of their preferred candidate, or is a view they disagree with.

Seventy-two percent indicated that “protecting gun ownership rights” is not an important view of their preferred candidate, or is a view they disagree with.

Fifty-nine indicated that “stopping illegal immigration to the U.S.” is not an important view of their preferred candidate, or is a view they disagree with.

Participants were also asked, “In which ways have you supported or do you intend to support your preferred presidential candidate?” Forty-six percent indicated that they have donated or would donate directly to candidate’s campaign, 46 percent forwarded or will forward social media, 24 percent have attended or plan to attend a rally or event, and 14 percent have volunteered or plan to volunteer to support their preferred candidate.

CMI Senior Research
Director David Paisley
David Paisley, senior research director at San Francisco-based Community Marketing & Insights, offered a perspective on the results.

“What is striking in this research is how little support the current group of Republican candidates have among the LGBT community in the 2016 presidential elections,” he said. “Unless something changes, the party may largely forfeit about five percent of adults in the United States to the Democrats, which can cause important swings in tight elections. Republicans perhaps could connect with LGBTs on issue like the economy, taxation and influence of government in private lives, but instead have chosen policies not supportive of LGBT Americans.”

CMI has been conducting LGBT consumer research for more than 20 years. Its practice includes online surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews and advisory boards in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.

CMI’s research panel of over 70,000 LGBTs was recruited over a 20-year period from more than 300 LGBT media, events and non-profit organizations. This means that the results summarized here are representative of LGBT consumers who are out and who interact within the LGBT community, but are not necessarily representative of the entire LGBT community.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 17
Issue 12

PRESSING QUESTIONS: GED Magazine of Long Beach, Calif.

Interview with Director of Sales and Marketing Christopher Jackson
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: California, Las Vegas

Year Founded: 2013

Staff size and breakdown: 5 – editor in chief, creative director, art director, director of social media, contributing writer (features)

Physical dimensions of publication: 5.5” x 8.5” — a digest-sized format.

Average page count: 80

Key demographics: A wide range from young clubgoers to older more established LGBT socially active adults

Print run: 30,000

Web site: GEDmag.com

*****

PPQ: What part of GED magazine is the most popular?

Director of Sales and Marketing Christopher Jackson: We have created a diverse and eye-appealing magazine that is read from cover to cover. Some of our popular monthly columns include our city by city BarTab, celebrity features and our local NOW columns that highlight local well-attended events and fundraisers for organizations that otherwise do not have the budget to advertise their event.

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

Jackson: GED magazine was a creative decision in developing a name to pursue a broad readership and market reach – Gay Entertainment Directory.

PPQ: What challenge has your publication had to overcome over the past few years?

Jackson: Overwhelming response and popularity of the magazine has produced a large interest with potential contributing writers and we simply cannot introduce everything in the print version of the magazine.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make?

Jackson: GED would not change one specific thing, but continues to evolve and improve its already proven model of an entertaining and informative publication that is consistently picked up by readers.

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

Jackson: No. We are providing resources and information but not preaching any agenda.

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

Jackson: Do your homework. [Publishing a gay magazine] is a thrill a minute, but extremely hard work.

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 17
Issue 12

GUEST COMMENTARY: PGN’s 40th anniversary is a sentimental time

by Mark Segal

Mark Segal, publisher of Philadelphia Gay News, is the nation’s most award-winning commentator in LGBT media. His best selling memoir "And Then I Danced, Traveling the Road to Equality'" is available at amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com or your favorite bookstore. This column can also be found at http://www.epgn.com/opinion/mark-my-words/10125-sentimental-times.

In less than a month, Philadelphia Gay News will celebrate its 40th anniversary. That’s really something when you consider there are only two other LGBT publications in the nation that can make a similar statement.

But even more amazing is that we have never missed an issue or a deadline, and we’ve had the same leadership since day one. So, since that leader was me, I’ve been thinking about those 40 years a lot lately.
PGN Publisher
Mark Segal

The beginning was not easy. We had death threats. People came into our office and destroyed it one evening by ripping out all the electrical wiring and what pipes there were. Our vending boxes were bombed, set on fire and had cars driven into them, yet we had that paper on the streets each and every issue, year in and year out. 

The PGN you look at today is the nation’s most awarded of all LGBT media. You might wonder how we got to this point from our meager beginnings. 

We knew from our very start that our mission was to inform our community and to give people who had different views a place to have dialogue with each other. We also knew that we were going to be a hard-news publication, not a “happy” newspaper, or newspaper lite.

Our very first issue featured an interview with the highest-appointed out official in the nation, and the second with Pennsylvania Gov. Milton Shapp. That interview was the first time any governor anywhere in the United States was interviewed by LGBT media. Our political reporting is only one of many ways that PGN differed from other LGBT media. Our coverage of trans issues goes back to our earliest days. Youth issues were always on our agenda. And then there was AIDS.

For many older LGBT people, the 1980s will always be associated with HIV/AIDS. For us on the front lines, it was sheer hell. For those at PGN who were warring about loved ones and friends, we had the double duty of reporting on the epidemic and trying to bring sense and calmness to a calamity. That was difficult when PGN discovered a police station in West Philadelphia that was keeping a list of people it knew had AIDS and then giving them “special treatment.” Despite threats, we ran that story, and the community got an apology from the city, and the list was destroyed. 

The community sometimes wondered why we continued to report on a story. That was never more true than with the case of Nizah Morris, the trans woman who ended up dead after a courtesy ride from police. To us at PGN, she has become a family member and represents what many trans people endure each and every day. Our more than 13 years of reporting and investigating that case has led us to court on many occasions, as we attempt to get records that have appeared and disappeared. No other LGBT media outlet has put the resources into a story for as long as PGN has — and we will continue to do so. 

That investigation led PGN to win a national award for investigative reporting, which put us in the same category as the Wall Street Journal. And just this week, once again we were informed that we had won seven journalistic awards from the Local Media Association. 

Thank you to a staff that has continued to live up to our motto, and thank you to our faithful readers who might not always agree with us, but who have continued supporting us. We promise you that we’ll continue to make you proud of this publication, week after week. 

GUEST COMMENTARY
Volume 17
Issue 12