Wednesday, December 13, 2017


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

BOSTON SPIRIT entered its 13th year of publication with its November/December 2017 issue.

DEBRA CHASNOFF, an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker and activist, died November 7, 2017, of metastatic breast cancer. She died at her home in Noe Vally, Calif., where she lived with her spouse, NANCY OTTO. She was 60. Chasnoff won her Oscar in 1992 for Best Documentary Short Subject for her film, “Deadly Deception: General Electric, Nuclear Weapons, and Our Environment.” She made history when she thanked her then-partner KIM KLAUSNER, becoming the first woman to thank a same-sex partner while accepting an Academy Award.

PGN's Jen Colletta
JEN COLLETTA, after 10 years with PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS, is leaving to work as the Montgomery County government’s digital content manager. Colletta started at PGN as a staff writer in 2007 and was promoted to editor in 2012. In her new position, Colletta will orchestrate content for Montgomery County’s website. She will come up with creative storytelling ways to share information with county residents and coordinate social media efforts. PGN is in the process of searching for the next editor and will announce the hiring decision as soon as it is made.

CHARLES SHIVELY, a pivotal figure in the history of the gay liberation movement as well as early gay publications, died October 6, 2017, at the Cambridge Rehabilitation and Nursing Home in Cambridge, Mass. He was 79. An Ohio native, he came to Massachusetts to attend Harvard College, graduating in June 1969, the same time as the Stonewall Riots in New York. In 1970, he worked on the first issue of LAVENDER VISION, a co-gendered gay liberation newspaper. A year later, he helped form the FAG RAG collective, which published the first national post-Stonewall gay political journal. He went on the establish FAG RAG BOOKS, the GOOD GAY POETS, and BOSTON GAY REVIEW. He wrote frequently for GAY COMMUNITY NEWS, GAY SUNSHINE, and THE GUIDE.

DARLENE R. STILLE, an author and editor, died October 28, 2017, of colon cancer. She is survived by her partner of 40 years, CYNTHIA MARQUARD. The couple lived together in Chicago for many years and played instrumental roles in that community. They later moved to New Buffalo, Michigan, which is where she died, at age 75. She began her career as a production editor at Encyclopedia Britannica and went on to edit other encyclopedia and science publications. She wrote more than 150 science and technology children’s books. She also wrote travel articles for Chicago-based OUTLINES newspaper and WINDY CITY TIMES.

WISCONSIN GAZETTE, based in Milwaukee, Wisc., entered its ninth year of publication with its November 16, 2017, issue.

Volume 19
Issue 9

Washington Blade snubbed by White House

by Joe Siegel

The Washington Blade has been given the cold shoulder by the White House and its press secretary.

“Even though I regularly attend the briefings on behalf of the Blade each day they’re held, the last time a White House press secretary called on me during an on-camera news conference was in May,” wrote the Blade’s chief political and White House reporter, Chris Johnson, in an October piece in the Blade headlined, “Why is White House ignoring the Blade.”

Johnson said the last time he had the chance to have a question answered was when Sean Spicer was still serving as press secretary. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who now holds the position, has not been as welcoming.

“Many times during the briefings, I see Sanders look directly at me as I raise my hand for a question, but she nonetheless skips me for another reporter, usually from a conservative, Trump-friendly outlet like Breitbart or Newsmax,” Johnson said, adding that the “White House refuses to take inquiries from the only LGBT publication in the White House at a time when the administration continuously rolls out anti-LGBT policies.”

According to Johnson, “prior to joining the Trump administration, Sanders headed the American Principles Fund, a super PAC with ties to the anti-LGBT National Organization for Marriage that essentially attacked Republican candidates for not being anti-gay enough.”

Blade editor Kevin Naff said Johnson did get to ask a question of Sanders the day after his story ran on the Blade web site. However, Naff noted Johnson is still being ignored.

Naff said Sanders has been contacted about her treatment of Johnson. Sanders told Naff that “it hasn’t been intentional.”

Volume 19
Issue 9

Out & About Nashville launches Puerto Vallarta publication

by Joe Siegel

A new magazine and website focused on the Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, LGBT community and its visitors has launched.

Out & About Puerto Vallarta (O&APV) will publish its first issue in January 2018. The website, is live now.

With a monthly distribution of 5,000 copies, the upscale glossy magazine will feature lifestyle and travel articles focused on the growing LGBT population in Puerto Vallarta, as well as the millions of tourists that visit annually.

The publication will be bilingual in English and Spanish. It will be distributed at hotels, restaurants, bars and other locations throughout Puerto Vallarta, including Old Town.

The magazine is owned by Jerry Jones and Benjamin Camarena Garcia, and is a sister publication to Out & About Nashville, Inc. (O&AN), based in Nashville, Tenn. O&AN is celebrating its 15th year in business and is Tennessee’s largest LGBT publication. (For more about O&AN, see Pressing Questions below.)

“Benjamin and I are excited to be able to start this exciting magazine to keep the growing LGBT population and its visitors in Puerto Vallarta informed and entertained,” Jones said.

Joseph Brant, a longtime O&AN staff member and its current managing digital editor, will serve as the general manager and editor of the new publication.

In addition to overseeing O&APV’s editorial operations, Brant will continue to manage all digital properties including O&AN’s website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and weekly email newsletter.

“I’m excited to share the community-based philosophy of Out & About with members of the LGBT community in Puerto Vallarta," Brant said. "I look forward to learning more from longtime residents, tourists, and community leaders as we build editorial and sales staff.”

Volume 19
Issue 9

Oregon’s PQ Monthly shuns print, goes digital

by Fred Kuhr

Portland, Oregon’s PQ Monthly, as well as its sister publications El Hispanic News and Tankside, have ceased publishing print editions and are now “100% digital,” publisher Melanie Davis announced in a letter to readers earlier this month.

She said going all digital will allow her publications to get away from a print business model that she calls “oppressive.”

PQ's Melanie Davis
“Gone are the days of the industry telling us what size and format to print, or dictating to us when they can print our publications, forcing us to revolve around seemingly arbitrary deadlines,” wrote Davis. “… I have served this industry for 32 years collectively, and am done with the system preying on our community’s voices by economically choking us and weighing us down with capitalist censorship. We will no longer subscribe to that oppressive business system. Rather than being broken by that system, we are creating a better one.”

Davis started with local bilingual publication El Hispanic News as a sales representative in 1992. She purchased the publication in 2008. “That was the year the recession hit, and I am happy to say we proved publisher resilience by monetizing and automating online sales and by broadening our intersectional partnerships." Those partnerships included publishing the “Official Pride Guide” for Pride NW, “making sure to include in our marketing budget funds to insert the Pride Guide into other racially diverse publications like The Asian Reporter and The Portland Observer.”

This led to the launch of PQ (which stands for Proud Queer) Monthly, a publication whose mission is to ensure “Every Letter & Every Color is Represented,” in 2012. She then launched Tankside, a mainstream motorcycle magazine. All of her publications are under her Brilliant Media LLC umbrella.

In addition to the news that the publications are going online only, Davis announced that Brilliant Media is in the process of publishing books on an annual basis that that will “reflect each media outlet’s best content. Each book published will have a revenue sharing model built into it that will directly benefit each contributor.”

Volume 19
Issue 9

GUEST COMMENTARY: Setting a new bar in LGBT journalism

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

At the end of my father’s life we’d get together and, when we did, Dad would always say, “So, what was your day like?” or “What have you been doing?” At such times, I’d shrug and say, “Just the same.”

The reality was that my life at that point was full of excitement and efforts to make new gains for our community, but I thought that talking about such work might look like bragging so I didn’t. But that was a big mistake, since my father read about my activities in mainstream newspapers and saw some on TV. I found out later that he’d ask my relatives why I wouldn’t share my pride of accomplishment with him. He wanted bragging rights. In his last few months, he never missed an opportunity to tell me how proud I made him. So since Dad is not here, let me share with you some pride, and you can share in it, like I know he would. 

Mark Segal
Last week was a time when I finally began to realize how far this community has come, through a series of events that individually are amazing — but putting them together is a new benchmark. 

It started last Thursday evening when the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA) presented me its highest honor, the Ben Franklin Award for Excellence, at its 93rd annual convention. This organization represents all newspapers in the state, including dailies and weeklies. The significance of that came as our former editor, Sarah Blazucki, was brought in from D.C. as a surprise to do the introduction. She reminded me, and those publishers sitting in that room, of how PGN had survived the bombing of our vending boxes, the trashing of our offices and even being put on the KKK’s hit list; I had forgotten that last one. Then I took the stage to deliver my speech, which I prepared as a tribute to the power of newspapers. As I read it now, I understand why many people told me afterwards that it was inspirational (I’ve posted the speech on my Facebook page:

Here’s the main point I made: That same organization that was giving me its highest award wouldn’t allow me to join for almost 10 years because I was a gay man. And there I was, receiving its highest award. That says where we as a community have come from, and also is a nod to LGBT media that “You’re one of us.”

The following morning at the same convention, the PGN staff gathered for the Newspaper of the Year Awards. The honors are awarded by division and circulation, so PGN was competing with almost every weekly in the state. Many are small-town newspapers, other are big-city weeklies. Time and time again, when they announced the awards, the staff of PGN had to stand; we won six divisional awards in total. Then the biggest award.

PNA awards one daily and one weekly as the Newspaper of the Year. The daily award went to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the weekly, Philadelphia Gay News.

Our editor, Jen Colletta, went to the stage to accept. The pride and chills I had, I’ll never be able to express. But what I knew is that LGBT media and PGN had set a new bar.

My thoughts went back to my days when I started this newspaper and was shunned. All I can say to those people is that we not only climbed the ladder, we’re at the very top. I say that not for myself, but as I said when I accepted the Ben Franklin Award, I say it for all those LGBT youth who wonder if they can enter journalism or media management and make it as an out person.

We at PGN are proof you can, and we dedicate these awards to you as encouragement to follow your dreams.

Volume 19
Issue 9

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Out & About Nashville

Interview with Owner & Publisher Jerry Jones and Managing Digital Editor James Grady
by Joe Siegel

Year founded: 2002

Staff size and breakdown (writers, editors, designers, etc.): Two editors (print managing editor and digital managing editor), two designers, three salespeople, a variety of volunteer or contract photographers and writers.

Physical dimensions of publication: 8.5” x 11” glossy

Average page count: 40

Key demographics: 127,000 readers, print and online, with only a 12 percent overlap between the two. Our readership is about evenly split between men and women.

Print run: 10,000

Web site:


PPQ: What feature or features of Out & About Nashville have been the most popular with readers? 

Jones: Anything that hints of controversy has always been popular with our readers. We have a monthly drag queen article that is very popular, and we are seeing an increase in popularity with our coverage of trans issues. 

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

Jones: I came up with the name. I wanted something that was fun, related to the community, and was easy to remember.

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

Jones: We have and continue to face a lot of discrimination. We've come a long ways in 15 years, but it remains challenging. We've received threats, had our outdoor boxes defecated in. We’ve had many times where people will take hundreds of copies from a location and throw them away to prevent other people from getting the issue. We have seen an increase in these events over the past year.

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Out & About Nashville facing now?

Jones: We continue to struggle to be visible to the pharmaceutical industry — Tennessee is ranked 16th in the nation (according to CDC statistics, and the South is ranked highest) with HIV infections, and yet we've only had two HIV pharma-related ads placed with us in the last year. Even less the year before. We have seen no PrEP advertising. We look at other markets and they are flooded with those types of ads. Even markets smaller than ours, and way lower on the CDC list. We are the only LGBT monthly magazine in the market, so what's going on with the lack of attention in our market?  It's been a challenge and continues to be a challenge, not only from an HIV-related education standpoint, but also a financial standpoint.

PPQ: How has Out & About Nashville changed since it was first launched?

Jones: So much! We started as a monthly tabloid with a focus on hard news. We are now a full-fledged glossy magazine, and our news focus has shifted to our digital properties, and our monthly print edition is now more lifestyles and community focused.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make? 

Jones: We'd like to hire more staff to spend time on video projects and some other digital ideas.  

PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories Out & About Nashville has covered?

Grady:  As far as biggest stories in terms of pure numbers, our stories about Stacey Campfield (an anti-LGBT former state senator), Men’s Social Club, the minister Robbie Gallaty, and Chris Carmack from the show “Nashville” have had the most impact in terms of readers reached. Many of these stories still show up as top performers years after hitting the web.

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

Jones: It's a 6. We often tell new staff members, if it's not local and not gay, or doesn't have gay ties, we aren't going to run it.

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

Jones: No. We try to cover things as fairly as we can and, unlike so many publications in the LGBT community, our origins are not activist related. We started as a way to provide a professional journalistic-based publication for our community.

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

Grady: From a personal perspective, two different pieces of feedback really struck a chord with me. When I tried to write a nuanced piece arguing that criticism of a local minister’s words missed the mark and went overboard, even though I was still critical, I received a lot of hate mail from LGBT community members. On the other hand, I received a good bit of mail from members of his church acknowledging that we won’t agree but thanked me for offering a detailed reading of what he actually said. 
The other piece of feedback that struck me was after a really short editorial that was kind of an afterthought: in that piece I talked about my identification as involving some degree of bisexuality. After that piece I received a few letters thanking me for being courageous — which I don’t think I was — and for being willing to represent bisexuality openly in a community that often treats it with mistrust. This was another eye-opener for me.

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

Jones:  Don't do it if you think you're going to make a lot of money.  The competition is fierce for ad dollars, and the challenges to succeed are many. If you do decide to do it, be well funded and watch your cash flow. Look to see what's not being done in a market and create a niche for yourself.

Volume 19
Issue 9