Thursday, September 22, 2016


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

FRANK BRUNI, famed NEW YORK TIMES columnist, was announced as the recipient of NLGJA’s RANDY SHILTS Award for LGBT Coverage. He will receive the awards during the group’s Dateline: DC event on November 17, 2016.

JEN CHRISTENSEN of CNN was re-elected president of the NLGJA Board of Directors. SARAH BLAZACKI of the U.S. Agency for International Development Office of Inspector General was re-elected to her position as vice president of print and online. Newly elected members of the board include ORIOL GUTIERREZ of POZ, ERIC HEGEDUS of the NEW YORK POST, BELINDA HERNANDEZ of CNN, and CHRISTINA KAHRL of ESPN. They will serve two-year terms. STEVE ROSEN of ab+c and ROBIN PHILLIPS of CASTELAZO CONTENT were reappointed for one-year terms. New appointees LORRAINE SEMBRA of CNN and SENTA SCARBOROUGH of E! NEWS will also serve one-year terms. They join current board members KEN MIGUEL (vice president of broadcast), RICK STUCKEY (secretary), SHARIF DURHAMS (treasurer), APRIL HUNT, BRETT LARSON, and JEFF TRUESDELL.
Andy Lien of Lavender Magazine

ION ARIZONA, based in Phoenix, celebrated its 15th anniversary with its July 2016 issue.

ANDY LIEN celebrated five years with Edina, Minn.-based LAVENDER MAGAZINE, where she serves as managing editor.

LESBIAN NEWS, based in Torrance, Calif., celebrated its 42nd anniversary in August 2016.

DILLON LEWIS is the new Communications and Marketing Coordinator at NLGJA. He is a recent graduate of the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University. COURTNEY KEENAN, a senior communications student at Stockton University, is the organization's new communications intern.

Sarah McBride of
the Human Rights
SARAH MCBRIDE was announced as the new National Press Secretary for the HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN. Previously, she was campaigns and communications manager for the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress. NICK MORROW is the new Press Secretary for HRC’s Project One America.

OUTLOOK, based in Columbus, Ohio, celebrated its 20th anniversary with its June 2016 issue.

MARK SEGAL, founder and publisher of PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS, received NLGJA’s Book of the Year Award for his memoir “And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality.”

THE WASHINGTON BLADE won eight awards from the D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in July 2016. Blade reporter and international news editor MICHAEL K. LAVERS won in the weekly newspaper category of Best Series for his coverage of LGBT rights issues in Cuba titled, “Snapshots from Cuba.” Editor KEVIN NAFF took two awards, one in the category of Commentary & Criticism and first place in the category of Editorial/Opinion. Features editor JOEY DIGUGLIELMO was a finalist in the Commentary & Criticism category and took first place in the Features category. Reporter MARIAH COOPER was honored as the finalist in that category. Reporter LOU CHIBBARO JR won first place in the “Non-Breaking News” category. Lavers was recognized as a finalist in that category as well.

Volume 18
Issue 6

LGBT Media Summit broadens focus at national journalism convention

by Fred Kuhr

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Examining LGBT health beyond HIV/AIDS and the crisis of homophobia in the Caribbean were just two of the issues examined during the 12th annual LGBT Media Summit, held on September 8 in Miami Beach, Fla.

The Summit was just one part of the broader annual convention of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, which attracted about 300 journalists and other media professionals to South Beach for three days of networking, professional development, and a little fun in the Florida sun.

About 100 of the convention’s overall attendees took part in the LGBT Media Summit, which targets those working in LGBT media.

While LGBT media professionals are the focus of the one-day event, the Summit’s focus has broadened.

“Though the LGBT Media Summit was originally conceived to be exclusively for members of the LGBT
LGBT Summit Chair Jason Parsley
of South Florida Gay News
press, over the years it has become an integral part of our three-day NLGJA gathering,” Summit Chair Jason Parsley, executive editor of Wilton Manors-based South Florida Gay News, wrote in his welcoming remarks. “While panels like ‘Beyond HIV & AIDS: Reporting on LGBTQ Health’ and ‘The LGBT Movement in Sports’ are developed to provide journalists working in LGBTQ media ideas and inspiration for future coverage, they also offer journalists working in more traditional outlets a unique perspective on a unique topic.”

At the LGBT health panel, topics ranged from senior housing and other issues related to aging, fitness and nutrition, and mental health.

Panelist Robert Boo, CEO of The Pride Center at Equality Park, talked about how his agency was approached by the City of Wilton Manors to help create housing for LGBT seniors. This came after the 2010 Census, which showed that Wilton Manors is the second gayest city, per capita, in the entire country, said Boo.

“Many older LGBTs don’t have children nor that family support structure, so that isolation starts to set in,” said Boo, whose agency offers a variety of support groups and services, including health care navigation and retirement.

Dr. Sheryl Mayas of Care Resources
Dr. Sheryl Zayas, medical director for Care Resources, which has four locations in South Florida, said the relationship between her practice and The Pride Center is vital. “We refer people back and forth,” she said, noting that working together gives patients more complete care.

Alvin Tran, a Boston-based health journalist and a doctoral student in public health nutrition and behavioral sciences at Harvard University, has done work on nutrition in the LGBT community.

“Lesbians generally have higher BMIs (body mass indexes) than straight women. There are higher rates of eating disorders among LGBT people,” said Tran, noting that more research is needed. “How do social and living environments affect this? How does your environment affect what you eat and why you eat it? What about stress? There’s a lot of research on HIV, but there are a lot of other health issues in the LGBT community.”

Moderator Andrew Seamen, senior medical journalist with Reuters in New York City, offered a handout of LGBT health reporting resources available at

Claudette de la Haye addressing
homophobia in the Caribbean
As this year’s convention was held in Miami, organizers used the occasion to hold a panel focusing on “Homophobia: A Caribbean Crisis.”

“While HIV/AIDS is a matter of urgency requiring constant vigilance, it is not be the precursor to all conversation about LGBT people in the Caribbean,” Dr. Neil Lowe, a senior AIDS policy advisor based in New York City, told the audience via Skype. “The Caribbean relies heavily on aid from major members of the G20. These G20 countries must keep pressure on those Caribbean nations that maintain their ‘buggery laws,’” using the British/Caribbean term for what North Americans call “sodomy laws.”

In August of this year, the highest court in Belize struck down that country’s sodomy law. “That is the single largest legal drumbeat for attacking this issue in the region. The law does not provide equality for same-sex marriage or domestic partnerships, but it takes away punitive exercises of governments or police against same-sex intimacy,” said Lowe. “We throw money at testing programs, but governments in the British Caribbean need to ensure privacy and safe spaces.”

NLGJA Executive Director
Adam Pawlus
Caleb Orozco, the leading activist in the fight against Belize’s sodomy law, also joined the panel via Skype.

Moderator Claudette de la Haye, a Detroit-based journalist, made the point about why this information was being presented at a North American journalists conference. After all, how many LGBT people knew about this legal victory in Belize? “It is pivotal to educate the North American LGBT community about what is happening in the Caribbean, and that’s our job as journalists.”

During the conference, NLGJA announced that next year’s convention and LGBT Media Summit will take place in Philadelphia at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, September 7-10, 2017. 

“NLGJA is excited to return to the Northeast for our 2017 National Convention after our fabulous 2016 convention in South Beach,” said NLGJA Executive Director Adam K. Pawlus. “Philadelphia has previously been the home of several NLGJA conventions, and we’re already working to pull together terrific, diverse programming for the 2017 convention.”

For more information about next year’s convention, go to

Volume 18
Issue 6

New England newspaper box destroyed by vandals

by Joe Siegel

The Rainbow Times (TRT), based in Boston, had one of its distribution boxes destroyed in an explosion on August 23 in the town of Salem, Mass.

Security camera footage revealed a group of seven people lingering around the newspaper box, then running from the scene. Moments later, the flash of light from the explosion fills the screen. The Salem Police Department shared the video on its Facebook page. The video has been viewed more than 75,000 times.

“The explosion rocked the downtown area and was heard up to a mile away prompting numerous calls to the Salem Police,” the department wrote on Facebook. “We are asking the public’s assistance in helping to identify these individuals.”

The Arson Watch Reward Program is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that helps solve the crime.

The Rainbow Times has been subjected to similar incidents in the past. Someone vandalized the boxes in June during Gay Pride Month.

According to its publisher, Gricel Martinez Ocasio, who published a lengthy statement on the paper’s website, TRT has filed about 10 reports with the Salem Police Department about boxes being defaced.

Mayor Kim Driscoll, who is featured on the cover of the August edition, called the incident a "cowardly act.”

"This cowardly attack runs contrary … to what it means to be a city whose very name means peace," Driscoll said.

In a show of support for TRT and the LGBT community, the Mayor’s Office, the City of Salem and NAGLY (North Shore Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth) responded by offering 3’×5’ rainbow flags for business owners to display at their establishments.

Additionally, a series of these flags were displayed from one side of the street to the other at the intersection of where the explosion took place.

“TRT encourages business owners and individuals who would like to display the rainbow flag and stand in support of our beloved LGBTQA community to make a donation to NAGLY who is distributing these flags,” said Nicole Lashomb, TRT editor in chief. “We are ever so grateful for the outpouring of support received by the local Salem community, city officials, the Salem PD, the Massachusetts State Police, the Fire Marshall’s office, the Mayor’s office and countless others throughout New England and the nation.”

Jeff Cohen, chairman of Salem’s No Place for Hate committee, said he sees a lot of hate crimes across the region, but noted that there have been “a lot more people acting out” since the presidential election began seeing incendiary rhetoric.

Cohen said he believes that people see Salem as an example of a diverse, inclusive community, not just on the North Shore but nationwide. But even Salem can be the site of bigotry. “It’s not how far we’ve come, it’s how far we’ve got to go,” Cohen said.

A replacement newspaper box was placed at the site. Ocasio said other boxes will be set up across Salem, noting the latest incident will not scare the paper away.

"We are going to stay here," Ocasio said. "This gives us more incentive to go ahead and promote not only the message of the paper, but the inclusion that this beautiful city is all about."

Volume 18
Issue 6

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Between the Lines of Livonia, Michigan

Interview with Co-Publisher Jan Stevenson
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: All of Michigan, with the heaviest focus on Southeast Michigan and the greater Detroit area

Year founded:1993

Staff size and breakdown: (writers, editors, designers, etc.)
Editor in chief Susan Horowitz (full time)
Sales manager and CFO Jan Stevenson (full time)
Assistant Eeditor (full time)
Copy and calendar editor (full time)
Entertainment editor (full time)
Graphic artist (part time)
2 sales representatives (full time)
IT Specialist/web guru (full time)

Physical dimensions of publication: 10” wide x 11” high

Average page count: 40

Key demographics: About 50/50 men to women, average age 31, high levels of education and income

Print run:12,000



PPQ: What feature or features of Between the Lines have been the most popular with readers?

Co-Publisher Jan Stevenson: Entertainment features with celebrities, local news coverage especially about intra-LGBT politics, and local op-eds.

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

Stevenson: We actually inherited the name. The paper was started in 1993 by two University of Michigan students and they thought of it as a little subversive, not out in the open. So Between The Lines suited them, and we just kept it.

PPQ: What challenge has your publication had to overcome since its inception?

Stevenson: The biggest challenge was the economy in Detroit, which took a body blow in the mid-2000s. Things are much better now economically in the auto industry, which still drives everything in this region. Also, the City of Detroit emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history and is now on the upswing.

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Between the Lines facing now?

Stevenson: Keeping up with ever-changing technology and how our readers access information. Our website is extremely busy with tens of thousands of unique users every week, and we are constantly looking at ways to attract more online readers. Monetizing online activity is still a big challenge.

PPQ: How has Between the Lines changed since it was first launched?

Stevenson: It started as a small monthly out of Ann Arbor. Now it is widely recognized as a major source for LGBT people and their allies on the issues that matter most to them. 

PPQ: What one change would you like to make?

Stevenson: More time in the day – ha! Seriously though, I would like to have a better economic model for online advertising revenues. Many advertisers, especially large companies, expect to get online exposure as value added with a print buy. It deflates our ability to monetize the web presence and build a stronger online product.

PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories Between the Lines has covered?

Stevenson: Marriage! The DeBoer-Rowse couple from Hazel Park, Mich., was the couple that challenged the legality of marriage equality all the way to the Supreme Court. Their four-year journey captivated our readers. They started out with three children and by the time the case went to the Supreme Court they had adopted two more – all special needs kids. These two nurses are remarkable people and Between The Lines was honored to share their amazing stories with our community.
Jan Stevenson of
Between The Lines

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

Stevenson: I’d say we are a 5.5 – and the only reason we are not a 6 is because we cover other progressive issues that intersect with LGBT issues, like women's rights, minority issues, and economic disparities that cause injustice.

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

Stevenson: Definitely. Susan Horowitz and I both identify as activists and have extensive activist credentials from both before and during our publishing careers. Both of us feel that the paper is an organizing vehicle that can mobilize the LGBT community and our allies to work towards more equality.

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

Stevenson: I don’t know how surprising it is, but many times we have heard people tell us that Between The Lines was their first – and sometimes only – connection to the LGBT world and that reading the paper every week gave them the resources and the courage to finally come out. It’s gratifying and humbling to know that people rely on the paper for information, connection and meaning.

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

Stevenson: Be ready to work your butt off! Also, do this because you love the community and want to help make things better. If it’s strictly a job for you, or a scheme to get rich, it won’t work. Go work at a bank.

Volume 18
Issue 6