Tuesday, September 26, 2017

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

JOHN-MANUEL ANDRIOTE, longtime health journalist, is releasing his new book “Stonewall Strong: Gay Men’s Heroic Fight for Resilience, Good Health, and a Strong Community” on October 8, 2017. It is published by Rowman & Littlefield. Andriote has reported on HIV-AIDS and other health and medical subjects for more than 30 years, and has been open about his own 2005 HIV diagnosis since coming out about it in a 2006 Washington Post article and NPR interview.

Jinx Beers (left) and Dan Savage
JINX BEERS and DAN SAVAGE are the two newest inductees enrolled in the LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame by NLGJA, the Association of LGBTQ Journalists. Beers is the founding publisher and first managing editor of America’s longest running lesbian newspaper, THE LESBIAN NEWS, launched in 1975. Savage is an award-winning journalist and author, TV personality, and activist best known for his political and social commentary, as well as his honest approach to sex, love and relationships. His sex advice column, “Savage Love,” introduced over 25 years ago, is now syndicated throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia.

JAMES FANIZZA, SETH REINES and JULIO C. REYNA our the newest contributors to ECHO MAGAZINE, based in Phoenix, Ariz.

TERRY MICHAEL, whose journalism career in Washington, D.C., spanned over 40 years, died August 7, 2017, from complications associated with pneumonia and a stroke. He most recently served as executive director of the Washington Center for Politics and Journalism, which he founded din 1989. He was 70.

QLIFE, based in Las Vegas, announced the addition of its first statewide edition, QLife Ohio. The new edition coincides with publisher RUSS WHITE's acquisition of QVEGAS five years ago. White and co-publisher GARRETT PATTIANI announced a new general audience lifestyle and entertainment publication VEGAS SHADE, built on the same platform as QLife. 
Mark Segal

REACH OUT MARKETING, based in Iowa City, Iowa, announced the coming launch of GoGuideIowaCity.us, enabling readers of GoGUiDE Magazine, as many as 5,000 on a bimonthly basis and Iowa’s only LGBT publication, an enhanced media experience.

MARK SEGAL, publisher of PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS, will receive the Benjamin Franklin Award from the Pennsylvania News-Media Association, the organization’s highest individual honor. The Benjamin Franklin Award recognizes individuals who have performed an outstanding service to his/her newspaper, to the news media industry in general, to his/her local community, or to the PNA that reflected positively on the news media industry in Pennsylvania. The award will be presented at PNA’s statewide convention on November 2, 2017.

SCOTT SIMON, host of NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday, is the recipient of the 2017 Randy Shilts Award for LGBTQ Coverage from NLGJA, the Association of LGBTQ Journalists. The award honors journalists who consistently bring stories of the LGBTQ community to life in mainstream media outlets. Simon will receive the award during NLGJA’s Dateline:DC event on November 16 at the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Signature Store in Washington, D.C.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 19
Issue 6

Advocate and Out company sold to owner of High Times

by Fred Kuhr

Here Publishing, which owns such venerable LGBT publications as Out and The Advocate, is under new ownership.

According to release from the L.A.-based company, it has been acquired by a consortium of management from its various publications and Oreva Capital, the investment firm led by entrepreneur Adam Levin, who is also CEO of High Times.
Adam Levin, head of Oreva Capital

In addition to Out and The Advocate, the sale includes such properties as Pride, Plus, Out Traveler, LGBT.com, and other intellectual property. They will now be collectively known as Pride Media Inc.

According to the newly formed company, citing numbers from Comscore, print and tablet editions of its properties reach 2.4 million and owned digital properties generate 5.2 million unique visitors.

Here managers have taken an equity stake in the new company and plan to remain in their current roles. Lucas Grindley, the former managing editor for online at National Journal and six-year Here veteran, will continue to oversee operations of the company.

Management worked with Oreva Capital to secure controlling ownership. “There is no better bet in media or advertising these days than on passionate, connected communities,” said Levin. “We are excited and feel extremely honored to have the opportunity to work with brands such as The Advocate, Out and Pride and realize their next phase of growth,” said Levin, who will represent Oreva on the board of directors. Levin became the acting CEO of High Times magazine and the Cannabis Cup after leading a consortium acquisition of the leading cannabis brand earlier in the year.

Levin will look to leverage the best practices from Here to help modernize High Times media properties. Likewise, Levin will utilize best practices and synergies from the thriving Cannabis Cup to expand Here Publishing’s events business.

The amount Levin paid to acquire Here Publishing from former owner Here Media is being kept under wraps. But he told CNN that Oreva paid over $42 million for High Times.

As far as the connection between owning High Times and LGBT media brands, Levin told Reuters, "We are looking for brands that have strong emotional ties with a community. We think there is a unique opportunity in niche media brands that are undervalued and have further ways to monetize the intellectual property."

Business for the new company looks to be booming. Over the first half of 2017, the brands have increased revenue by 17 percent, including a hugely successful Pride month in June, which increased revenue 86 percent  compared to the same period last year. The brand is also further developing its video strategy, with 2017’s video advertising earnings already doubling that of last year.

And this is why those who work with LGBT media see this sale as such a positive development. “It shows real interest in the LGBT market and media,” said Todd Evans, owner of Rivendell Media and publisher of Press Pass Q.  “Many in LGBT media have been under financed, and that has limited its growth. That is the case with Here Media, which had a number of problems, including a large lawsuit they had to settle. Now that all that is behind them, this should mark some real growth in national LGBT media. Plus, while local titles have their niche of local news and community events, national LGBT media has seemed lost. This kind of investment should lead to increased circulations and stronger content.”

TOP STORY
Volume 19
Issue 6

Florida publications survive Hurricane Irma

by Joe Siegel

Florida’s LGBT publications were all impacted by Hurricane Irma to varying degrees.

Key West was the one of the hardest hit areas of the state. Q Magazine publisher Neil Chamberlain evacuated during the storm, but said the October issue will be published. Chamberlain does all the work for Q solo.

“I did not take my design computer, kind of a defiance to Irma, my way of saying, ‘I will be back,’” Chamberlain said. “I did. however. take two laptops and my backup drive with all of my files.”

Currently the situation is looking very grim due to widespread power outages on the island, according to Chamberlain.

“I'm planning on heading back,” he said last week, “but I know I'm going into no internet access, no power, limited water, and it's not even safe to drink. Once I'm back, I'll fire up the generator, set up my hot spot and it's straight to work.”

Q Magazine is not the only business which has been hurt by the hurricane. The magazine’s advertisers have also taken a beating.

“My clients are all suffering,” Chamberlain noted. “Every local business has suffered financially. I will be reaching out to them all and offering all the local advertisers a deep discount on the next issue.”

Chamberlain believes Key West, as well as Q Magazine, will make a comeback.

“Key West is a small community and we all help each other out whenever possible,” Chamberlain said. “Key West will be back better than ever, and Q Magazine will continue to be the only LGBT magazine for Key West.”

Orlando’s Watermark temporarily lost power but was soon up and running, according to publisher Rick Claggett.

“We were so far [from the eye of the hurricane] that I would say we were pretty much unaffected,” Claggett said.

Fort Lauderdale is home to Hot Spots Magazine, and the publication’s offices were without power for four days. However, the publishing schedule was not affected.

“It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as originally expected, so we have to be thankful for that,” said associate publisher Scott Holland.

South Florida Gay News, based in Wilton Manors, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, was without power for a week.

Associate publisher Jason Parsley was in California during the hurricane, but said other staffers did evacuate the state.

Parsley said the loss of power resulted in many local businesses having to throw out food which had spoiled from lack of refrigeration. “The local food bank which services the HIV community lost a lot of their food,” Parsley noted.

South Florida Gay News prepared for Hurricane Irma by publishing a special “storm edition” prior to the hurricane’s arrival. The most recent issue was delayed two days. The staff did all their work from remote locations to get the issue completed, Parsley added.

Rafa Carvajal, publisher of Miami’s Wire Magazine, posted a message to readers on the publication’s web site. The staff evacuated to various locations.

“I must confess that I feared for my life when I evacuated from my apartment on Brickell Avenue, expecting that a category 4 hurricane would cause massive destruction from winds and storm surge,” Carvajal wrote. “I packaged what I could in my SUV and headed north to Stuart, Florida, with my friend Kim. We rode out the storm in a very safe home near the ocean with her family and experienced hurricane winds that reached 85 miles per hour. As one of millions of Floridians who had to make last minute decisions in search of safety, I look back at this traumatic experience and I am thankful that everyone I know is ok. Evacuating my apartment made me realize that sometimes we take things for granted and forget how fortunate we truly are.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 19
Issue 6

Houston publications weather Hurricane Harvey

by Joe Siegel

Houston’s LGBT publications managed to weather Hurricane Harvey, which caused massive flooding in the city late last month.

Outsmart Magazine did have to close its offices for a few days due to the wet conditions, but did not sustain any damage.

“None of our full-time staff was flooded or seriously impacted,” said publisher and editor in chief Greg Jeu. “We came out lucky overall.”

The September issue of Outsmart was delayed, however, because the entire city was shut down, Jeu noted.

“The [problem] was, even if your house wasn’t flooded, you couldn’t really get anywhere because many of the roads were blocked,” Jeu said. “Everything was closed. Our office was closed for several days.”

Jeu said residents of the city are beginning to put their lives back together after Harvey. “There’s a long road ahead for the people who were impacted, but there is a growing sense of normalcy.”

The offices of the Montrose Star made it through the hurricane with only minor damage due to rain coming in through the windows, said executive editor Laura Villagran.

“We were high enough that we did not get flooded,” Villagran said, noting the newspaper was less than a mile from heavily-flooded areas of the city.

Villagran said a lot of fundraising events were being held to help less fortunate residents.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 19
Issue 6

Former editor of Orlando’s Watermark dies

by Fred Kuhr

Billy Manes, the former editor of Orlando’s Watermark, has died.

According to a statement released by his husband Tony Mauss, Manes “passed away peacefully … surrounded by his family of friends. He had been ill for a couple of weeks with what turned out to be pneumonia, and by the time we sought medical attention, it was too far advanced. He died due to complications of his condition leading to organ failure.”

Manes passed away on July 21. He was only 45.

Billy Manes
Manes first made his mark on Orlando as a writer and columnist for the newspaper Orlando Weekly. In 2005, he ran for mayor - making him the first openly gay mayoral candidate in Orlando history.

In 2015, Manes left Orland Weekly to take on the role of editor in chief at Watermark. And he was the editor when 49 people were murdered at the Pulse Nightclub massacre in 2016. As Orlando Weekly put it in their tribute to Manes, he “became the voice of a grieving community, appearing on MSNBC and NPR. On the one-year mark of the tragedy, Manes reflected in a Watermark column that Orlando achieved the remarkable feat of pulling different people in the city together after Pulse.”

In that column, Manes wrote. “After June 12, thousands lined up to donate blood for the 49 dead and the 53 injured in that nightclub nightmare, not because standing in the sun on a hot summer day is an act to be applauded, but because they knew that, in times like these, the masses are needed. This was no time to hide behind your couch cushions and cry at the television broadcasts. This was a time of people connecting – arm and arm, blood to blood – in the manner that societies do when tragedy strikes."

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer called Manes “a vibrant force of nature with a healthy dose of wit.”

“He touched so many lives as a selfless friend, community supporter and a willing mentor,” read a statement from the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, of which Manes was a board member.

And his husband said that Manes was a “walking fucking miracle, a man who fought ferociously to create a world where justice, equality and respect were the cornerstones of his community. He loved Orlando. He knew what was possible here in this sprawling mass of ex-pats, misfits, introverts, seekers, party people, bookworms, performers, makers, artists and friends. His driving force was love. He loved you, Orlando, and he knew of your love for him. He fed off it; it sustained him. He would have fought proudly for each and every one of you forever. Unfortunately, his body had other plans. So grieve, Orlando, grieve, but don't forget to laugh, create joy, and love each other wildly. That would honor him."

In July of this year, Manes announced that he was “effectively let go” by Watermark and would no longer serve as the newspaper’s editor. According to a statement by the newspaper, however, Manes’ departure was “by mutual agreement.” The statement added, “Out of mutual respect, the reasons for this change will remain proprietary.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 19
Issue 6

Houston LGBT media pioneer Henry McClurg dies

courtesy of the National Gay Media Association

Houston LGBT media pioneer Henry McClurg passed away on September 16 at the age of 70. 

Starting in 1974 with the Gulf States paper Contact, McClurg went on to publish the Montrose Star, Houston’s first gay newspaper, and is perhaps best known for starting the “Voice” empire, beginning in 1980 with the Montrose Voice, which gradually became the Houston Voice. 

Henry McClurg
According to his obituary in Outsmart Magazine, Montrose originally became Houston’s gay neighborhood in part because of the name of McClurg’s paper. McClurg sold the Houston Voice in 1993, and it eventually folded when Windows Media closed in 2009. 

“Henry was a wonderful and delightful man who I had the pleasure of working with when I was president of The National Gay Press Association, which was the first professional trade organization for LGBT media,” said Mark Segal, longtime gay activist and publisher of Philadelphia Gay News. “Henry was my vice president and should be recognized for that pioneering work on a national level. Almost two years ago, I was in Houston on the book tour of my memoir and as soon as Henry knew I was coming to town he made sure I’d have dinner with him, and get his personal tour of Montrose. It was a special evening for the joy that was Henry.”

Writing in Outsmart Magazine, JD Doyle described McClurg as the person “who contributed the most to bringing gay and lesbian news to Houston,” and quoted McClurg from a 2012 interview: “I figured my publications had a purpose, to do good, to educate people and to educate our community, let them know what is going on and be proud — not be ashamed that you’re gay,” McClurg said.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 19
Issue 6

GUEST COMMENTARY: Applaud journalism

by Mark Segal
Mark Segal, publisher of Philadelphia Gay News, is the nation’s most award-winning commentator in LGBT media. His recently published memoir, "And Then I Danced," is available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or at your favorite bookseller.

NLGJA, the Association of LGBT Journalists held its annual convention in Philadelphia this year. The organization and its membership may not be what you expect. For the most part, the focus is not on LGBT media, but rather the organization serves as a place for LGBT journalists who mostly work in mainstream media, in places like CNN, MSNBC and news divisions of the three major networks — NBC, ABC and CBS — as well as print media like New York Times, Washington Post and Philadelphia Inquirer.

NLGJA is a place for those in media to network and discover how they can bring their identities and their community’s voice into the newsroom. And when a story breaks with an LGBT angle, NLGJA helps guide them on how they can be the person in that newsroom to point out the importance and particulars of that story. For any of us who grew up in a time when our community was literally invisible in the newsroom, and on TV, radio or even in newspapers, we know how important these people are, and how hard it was for them to be out and fighting for our community in their profession.

And if you ever wonder how important that is, here’s a way to look at it. In just the last nine months, we in the media have had to report on the president’s ban on transgender people in the military, the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy, the fight against conversion therapy, the onslaught of bathroom legislation aimed at our trans sisters and brothers, efforts to have us as a community wiped off the 2020 census, the “compromised” legislation on HB2 in North Carolina, the murder of LGBT people in Chechnya, the anti-Semitism at the Chicago Dyke March and the racism in our community … and those are just a few of the stories.

Aside from breaking news, NLGJA members help produce, write or host many of the news shows you watch. So each time you see a news item about our community, thank the members of NLGJA for doing their part in the battle for equality.

GUEST COMMENTARY
Volume 19
Issue 6

PRESSING QUESTIONS: The Central Voice of Middletown, Penn.

Interview with Founding Editor and Publisher Frank Pizzoli
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: South central Pennsylvania – Dauphin County (home to state capital of Harrisburg), Cumberland County, Lancaster County and York County

Year founded: 2003

Staff size and breakdown: Editor/publisher, five volunteer freelance writers, art director, graphic designer, cartoonist, sales manager, and account executive

Physical dimensions of publication: 12” x 14”

Average page count: 28

Print run: 5,000 (70,000 for Pride edition)

Web site: www.thecentralvoice.com

*****

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

Pizzoli: I came up with the name as a way to provide the region with a “central” way to have a “‘voice.”

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

Pizzoli: There are not enough LGBT-owned businesses in our region to support a gay newspaper and web site. Our challenge is to remind the LGBT community that most advertisers are not from our community. We are in this together.

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is The Central Voice facing now?

Pizzoli: Like all print media, we are balancing print revenue with online revenue.

PPQ: How has The Central Voice changed since it was first launched?

Pizzoli: We offer broader news coverage on all levels (local, state, national, international). We are part of every major LGBT benefit in the region in some community-service way. That’s our value, but also the value of our parent company, Press & Journal. Local non-profit organizations are offered space to write topical columns on issues relevant to their mission.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make?

Pizzoli: More paid writers.

PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories The Central Voice has covered? 

Pizzoli: We often cover international and national stories with local and regional sourcing. For example, we interviewed Salman Rushdie for his local appearance. As Muslim/LGBT issues heat up, we’ve published the voice of local representatives. When club kid Michael Alig was out and about, we interviewed him. ABC.com picked up our marriage story when the U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of same-sex marriage.

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

Pizzoli: We’re a Kinsey 6 in content, but we’ve also enjoyed readers and advertisers telling us that we’re classy, i.e. no porn images — which takes no imagination whatsoever now that the internet has it all uncovered. We also publish general interest stories, making the statement that we are more than our sexual orientation. We do not aspire to live up to our detractors’ worst expectations of our community.

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

Pizzoli: I’m a journalist first, then a gay man. The fact that we’re publishing an LGBT newspaper and website in what some call the “buckle on the Bible belt” is an activist effort. But we’re about journalism. Our writers, or their opinions, are not the story. Our personal beliefs belong on the op-ed page. Others may disagree. That’s what makes our first amendment right so valuable. We can disagree.

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

Pizzoli: Over the years, I’ve liked hearing from readers that they keep a copy out when family is around.

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

Pizzoli: Know your market, gay and straight. Business is business. Have a plan to start, watch it fall apart, and keep moving.

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 19
Issue 6