Tuesday, December 18, 2018

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

THE CENTRAL VOICE, based in Middletown, Penn., won second place in in its division for Newspaper of the Year by the PENNSYLVANIA NEWSMEDIA ASSOCIATION FOUNDATION. It also won the General Excellence Award as well as first place awards in Advertising Excellence, Diversity, and Community Service. It won second place honors for News Presentation Excellence, Editorial & Commentary Excellence, Best Use of Photography, and Promotion.

ROWAN COLLINS announced last month that he is stepping down as editor of THE EMPTY CLOSET, based in Rochester, N.Y. He is also leaving his position as Communications Director at the OUT ALLIANCE, which publishes the magazine.
Charles Flowers

ECHOMAG, based in Phoenix, Ariz., celebrated its 29th anniversary with its October 2018 issue.

CHARLES FLOWERS, founder and editor of the LGBTQ literary magazine BLOOM, was officially appointed the new City of West Hollywood Poet Laureate on October 17, 2018, by WeHo’s City Council.

GOGUIDE MAGAZINE, based in Iowa City, announced that it is fully funded through 2019.

HOTSPOTS, based in Oakland Park, Fla., announced that HARRY MIRANDA is its new Account Executive for Central Florida. He has been perviously associated with the magazine as an event planner and marketing specialist.

OUT IN JERSEY, based in Trenton, N.J., entered its 24th year of publication with its December 2018 / January 2019 issue.

PEACH ATL, based in Atlanta, introduced a new feature in its October 24, 2018, issue called KING’S CORNER. In it, columnist SCOTT KING offers advice and wisdom based on reader questions.

THE PRIDE, based in Los Angeles, entered its third year of publication with its November 2, 2018, issue.

Q, based in Atlanta, celebrated its first anniversary with its November 15, 2018, issue.

Jim Stewart
SOUTH FLORIDA GAY NEWS, based in Wilton Manors, Fla., won five FLORIDA PRESS CLUB Excellence in Journalism Awards last month, including two first place wins. Executive Editor JASON PARSLEY won three of the awards, including first place in General Writing and Minority Reporting as well as second place for in-depth reporting. Art Director BRENDON LIES took second place in Artist Illustration, and the newspaper took third place in the Special Section category for its coverage of the one-year commemoration of the Pulse nightclub massacre, which included stories by freelancers DENISE ROYAL and MICHAEL D’OLIVEIRA.

JIM STEWART, a columnist for the BAY AREA REPORTER’s BARTAB section and a Folsom Street leather pioneer, died on October 15, 2018 of pneumonia at his home in Ludington, Mich., where he had retired. He was also the author and cover model of his 2011 award-winning memoir FOLSOM STREET BLUES as well as a photographer for DRUMMER magazine. Stewart was 75.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 20
Issue 9

Year-in-review issues still relevant in digital age

by Joe Siegel

Many LGBTQ publications create special year-in-review issues as a way to provide a comprehensive overview of the past year’s events.

“We do an annual year-in-review issue, recapping our staff picks for the top local, national, international and arts stories of the year,” said Kevin Naff, editor of the Washington Blade. “It publishes on Dec. 28 so we can all catch a much-needed break.”

Dallas Voice is also publishing a year-in-review issue.

“Years ago, we would choose our top 10 stories of the year and do an expanded recap of those stories, and we would do a month-by-both recap of the year,” said Tammye Nash, Dallas Voice managing editor. “That would include one or two sentences about whatever noteworthy events happened that month. These days, on the news side, we do not necessarily a ‘top 10’ list of stories. Instead, we just recap what we could consider to be our top stories for the year. That might be four or five, or maybe nine or 12 or however many we choose.”

Regarding vacations for the writers and editors, Nash noted, “The owners of Dallas Voice have always worked to arrange holiday deadline and print schedules to give our staff as much time off as possible during the holidays, beginning with co-founders Robert Moore and Don Ritz and continuing today with owner Leo Cusimano.”

On the flip side, South Florida Gay News, based in Wilton Manors, is not planning a year-in-review issue.

“The last issue of the year, we always plan ahead a special photo themed issue ‘A Day in LGBT South Florida,’” said editor Jason Parsley. “[Last month] we asked our readers to submit photos from their day,” as well as assigned photographers all around South Florida, Parsley said.

SFGN does publish a year-in-review type issue at the end of January to celebrate their anniversary.

“So that issue is themed with year-in-review type stories,” Parsley explained. “We will typically recap our biggest stories from the year or update them. I do believe year-in-review issues are still very relevant, more so because of social media. It’s very easy to miss stories because these days we all face information overload.” 

The Los Angeles Blade is publishing their year-end issue on December 21. Editor Troy Masters also believes those recaps are still important even in the age of social media.

Troy Masters of the Los Angeles Blade
“Print is not digital and reverse,” Masters said. “There's much more ancient content online and one can argue that a print environment is more relevant.”

Some publications have opted out of doing year-in-review issues due to financial constraints.

“With our reduced page count in recent years, if didn't make sense to rehash news that readers can find on our website,” explained Cynthia Laird, news editor of the San Francisco-based Bay Area Reporter.

Laird said the paper does not cease operations for the last two weeks of the year. “We do take Christmas and New Year's days off so that does affect our deadline in that stories need to be submitted and edited earlier,” Laird noted, adding the Bay Area Reporter does share its holiday cheer with the readers. “We run a photo of the staff and contributors in our Christmas issue where we wish readers happy holidays.”

TOP STORY
Volume 20
Issue 9

Faith and religion still big issues for LGBTQ media

by Joe Siegel

The Christmas season may indeed be the holiest time of year, but it offers a challenge for writers for LGBTQ publications — how to reach out to a community which has often been demonized by the Catholic Church and other religions.

Gwendolyn D. Clemons — editor in chief of The Unleashed Voice, a magazine based in Memphis that caters to the African-American LGBTQ community — wrote a recent editorial in which she wrote that she understands “the power of faith, prayer, and acting upon the many visions God provides in our daily lives.” 

While such sentiments are not typically part of the LGBTQ media, Clemons and her son, a minister who studied at Memphis Theological Seminary, do not subscribe to traditional Christian beliefs.

Gwendolyn D. Clemons of
The Unleashed Voice
“We are intentional about sharing the ‘Good News’ of God with the LGBTQ community,” Clemons explained. “We reject the common interpretation of biblical scripture that homosexuality is a sin.”

Clemons acknowledged the discrimination faced by the LGBTQ community. “My experience has taught me that religion is the one area where LGBTQ individuals struggle the most because of religious dogma and scripture abuse,” Clemons said. “Our articles come from a place of lived experience and being freed from this erroneous thinking. Our aim is to offer a constructive argument with support and researched theories about biblical scriptures and how to correctly understand the Bible.”

There needs to be more work done to change societal attitudes towards LGBTQ people, Clemons said. “I think tolerance has grown, but religion has a stronghold on homosexuality. I believe this because we have witnessed a lot of LGBTQ individuals struggle with their sexuality and religion, especially in the Black community.”

There are many churches that have become more inclusive to the LGBTQ community, including in the Deep South.

“Dallas is what I call the rhinestone buckle on the gay Bible Belt,” said Tammye Nash, managing editor of the Dallas Voice. “We have a large number of LGBT churches in North Texas, including the largest primarily LGBT church in the world [Cathedral of Hope UCC]. We also have several mainstream churches that have become much more open and accepting of LGBT people, and we have a very active LGBT Jewish synagogue, Beth El Binah. So religion and faith-based issues are a big deal for us year-round.”

However, the Dallas Voice is not focusing solely on religion in their year- end coverage.

“At the holidays, we tend to focus more on stories that are uplifting and positive rather than those tied to a specific religious or faith-based point of view,” Nash explained. “Our one exception is a column that Senior Staff Writer David Taffet writes every year in December. David is Jewish and on the board of Beth El Binah, and every year, he writes some version of his ‘Why I Hate Hanukkah' column.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 20
Issue 9

Bay Area Reporter digital archive project reaches milestone

by Fred Kuhr

Readers of San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter (BAR) got an early holiday present this year when the digitization project to make archival issues of the newspaper available online was completed in October.

The goal is to make every issue published between April 1, 1971, and August 5, 2005, available via two internet databases.

The project was overseen by the GLBT Historical Society and funded by $68,000 in grants from the Bob Ross Foundation, named after BAR's founding publisher who died in 2003, according to information from BAR.

"This project is extremely important as it will preserve the history of our movement," former BAR publisher Thomas E. Horn, who is president of the Bob Ross Foundation, told the paper. "Journalists rightly say that newspapers are the first draft of history. And this project will preserve the first draft of the gay movement in San Francisco from 1971 for students, academics, historians or some young boy or girl in some rural area just trying to tap into our history.”

According to the newspaper, archivist Bill Levay worked with volunteers over two years to manually digitize more than 1,500 issues of BAR — more than 77,000 individual pages — and then make them searchable by keyword.

"Having the entire run of the newspaper available at one's fingertips will open up new research opportunities for both casual readers and professional researchers," noted Mark Sawchuk, a member of the nonprofit's communications working group, in the society's October newsletter.

Until recently, researchers and others who wanted to read old issues of BAR had to make an appointment to visit the GLBT Historical Society's archives or visit the San Francisco Public Library's microfilm collection at the main library.

But now, entire issues of the newspaper can be downloaded at https://archive.org/details/bayareareporter&tab=collection. It is sortable by date and can also be searched using keywords.

The other online repository is housed on the California Digital Newspaper Collection website, which is overseen by University of California Riverside. On the main page of the site — https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc — type in "Bay Area Reporter" in the search prompt to pull up the archived issues. The digital collection can then be sorted by date as well as searched using keywords.

BAR is now working to make its issues from August 12, 2005, to the present available online via the two databases. According to the paper, those issues had been archived on BAR’s former website, but that was disabled this past spring when the newspaper switched website hosting companies.

For more information, go to https://www.glbthistory.org/online-collections/?rq=Bay%20area%20reporter

IN THE NEWS
Volume 20
Issue 9

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Ambush Magazine of New Orleans, La.

Interview with Publisher Tomy Acosta
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: The Gulf South with a focus on New Orleans and distribution from Houston to Pensacola, Fla., and north to Jackson, Miss.

Year founded: 1982, and the oldest surviving LGBTQ publication serving the Gulf South

Staff size and breakdown: 16  — publisher, editor in chief, senior editor, a salesperson, and a12 contributing writers

Key demographics: Readership 72 percent male, 28 percent female; median age 37 (21-34 year olds, 26 percent; 35-54 year olds, 37 percent); median household income $84,500 (HHI $50,000+, 62 percent; HHI $75,000+, 38% percent)

Web site: www.ambushmag.com

*****

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

Publisher Tomy Acosta: Our Hot Happening section along with our official guides are the most popular. We produce the Official Gay Mardi Gras Guide, Official Gay Easter Parade Guide, Official Gay New Orleans Guide, Official Gay Halloween Guide, Official Pride Guide and the Official Gay Southern Decadence Guide. 

PPQ: Who came up with the name and what is the inspiration for it?  
Acosta: As the story goes, in 1982 Ambush founders Rip & Marsha Naquin Delain were sitting with friends trying to come up with a name when someone said "We should ambush them,” and the rest is history. 

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

Acosta: The biggest challenge is changing with the times and staying up to date with technology. In 1982, there were no websites or social media platforms so a lot has changed. It’s always a work in progress.

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Ambush facing now?  

Acosta: The biggest challenge is reaching young people where they are.  With the increase in social media and apps, you now have several platforms that must be utilized to reach the younger generation. Also, the interest of the younger generation is different from older individuals, so it’s important to find a balance with the content covered by Ambush.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make?  

Acosta: We are always looking to expand our reach and audience. It’s something we are working on all the time, trying to get more distribution locations and readers. We have some amazing writers and contributors so we want as many people as possible to see and appreciate their work.

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

Acosta: There are so many stories that were big at the time from the AIDS crisis in the ’80s to the fight for marriage equality. Every story is a big news story when it affects your rights and your day-to-day life. At Ambush, we understand that although we have come a long way as a community, the fight continues.

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

Acosta: 6.

PPQ: Do you see yourselves as “activist journalists”? If so, in what way?  

Acosta: Yes, we see ourselves as "activist journalists" in many ways. We have writers who take stands on many political issues and let their voices be heard. We are always trying in every way we can to help promote equality for all.

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

Acosta: I don't know that anything has been surprising, but we do get a lot of feedback from our readers. In the little over a year since I've owned Ambush, most of the feedback has been positive about the changes we've made to the paper and our desire to be inclusive of everyone in the LGBTQ community.

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

Acosta: Know your community and get involved. One of the keys to the success of Ambush is how involved it is in the LGBTQ community in the Gulf South. Ambush has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for various charities over the years. It’s a vital part of what we do.

(If your publication has never been featured in PRESSING QUESTIONS, and you'd like it to be, email editor Fred Kuhr at editor@pressassq.com)

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 20
Issue 9

Monday, November 26, 2018

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

AMBUSH MAGAZINE, based in New Orleans, celebrated its 36th anniversary in its October 9, 2018, issue.

ECHO's Amy Young
LEWIS COVINGTON, a former writer with now-defunct Atlanta publication ETC, passed away on September 6, 2018, from cardiac-related causes. He was 66.

ECHO, based in Phoenix, Ariz., announced that AMY YOUNG is the magazine’ new managing editor. She replaces KJ PHILIP, who will continue to contribute to the publication.

THE FIGHT SF, the Los Angeles publication’s San Francisco edition, announced that BRENDAN SHUCART is its inaugural editor.

THE MIRROR, based in Wilton Manors, Fla., and published by SOUTH FLORIDA GAY NEWS, introduced its new logo and branding in its September 2018 issue.

THE FIGHT SF's
Brendan Shucart
RAGE MONTHLY, based in San Diego, Calif., launched its Palm Springs edition in October 2018. It already publishes San Diego and Orange/Los Angeles Counties editions.

PRIZM, based in Columbus, Ohio, celebrated its first anniversary in its September 2018 issue.

SOUTH FLORIDA GAY NEWS publisher NORM KENT won a second place award for Investigative Reporting in the FLORIDA PRESS ASSOCIATION’s annual competition in August 2018. The story, “The Rise and Fall of the FLORIDA AGENDA,” explored the collapse of that media company.

THE WASHINGTON BLADE launched its yearlong celebration leading up to next October’s 50th anniversary of the D.C.-based newspaper. To start, the newspaper unveiled its new 50th anniversary logo in the October 19, 2018, issue.

WINDY CITY TIMES, based in Chicago, entered its 34th year of publishing with its September 26, 2018, issue.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 20
Issue 8

LGBT papers work fast to cover midterm results

by Joe Siegel

The recent midterm elections were notable for the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives and the victories of several LGBT candidates. LGBT publications, especially weeklies, were under the gun to provide coverage of the major races. Some adjusted their schedules to provide the most timely coverage.

“At the top of the ballot, ally Beto O’Rourke came up just short in his epic bid to unseat incumbent Republican — and notoriously anti-gay U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz,” reported the Dallas Voice. “Three LGBT candidates for U.S. House seats — Lorie Burch, Gina Ortiz Jones and Eric Holguin — also came up short, although both Burch and Jones pulled in well over 40 percent of the vote in their races.”

Houston's OutSmart, just before
the midterm elections
In Chicago, “From Democrat J.B. Pritzker dethroning Republican Bruce Rauner in the Illinois gubernatorial race to Colorado's Jared Polis becoming the first openly gay man elected governor in the United States, a sea change took place at the polls,” reported Windy City Times. 

“Pritzker — whose cousin Jennifer is transgender — pledged his support for the LGBT community early on, frequently citing his mother's support of LGBT rights as his inspiration. Shortly before the primaries, he told Windy City Times that, ‘We've got to stop the rise of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes. We've got to pass budgets that fund programs like the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, PrEP for Illinois, HIV testing, anti-bullying initiatives, and health and safety programs in the LGBTQ community. The budget of the state of Illinois is a moral document that speaks to the values of our government. The values of our government ought to be standing up for the LGBTQ community.’”

Windy City Times publishes its election guides the two weeks before an election, explained executive editor Andrew Davis. “We don't endorse, but we send questionnaires to every candidate; those that are returned are scored, and we also include the endorsements of certain organizations, such as HRC and Chicago NOW.”

Between The Lines, based in Livonia, Mich., reported the boost in gay representation in Congress. “Three gay and lesbian non-incumbent candidates — Angie Craig in Minnesota, Chris Pappas in New Hampshire and Sharice Davids in Kansas — were confirmed the winners Tuesday night in the bid for seats in the U.S. House amid ‘blue’ victories that propelled Democrats to take control of the chamber."

“Another candidate who’s bisexual, Katie Hill in California, appeared to have beaten incumbent Rep. Steve Knight in her bid to represent her state’s 25th congressional district in the House, but those results were close and weren’t declared as of Wednesday morning,” the Michigan paper noted.

South Florida Gay News’ (SFGN) headline was “LGBT Advocates Celebrate Democrats Winning House.”

According to the paper’s reporting, “Topping the list for what LGBT rights supporters were expecting from the House with Democrats in control was oversight of the Trump administration’s anti-LGBT policies and advancement of the Equality Act. Sarah McBride, a transgender advocate and spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, identified the Equality Act as a top priority with Democrats finally in control of the House.”

SFGN Editor Jason Parsley said the paper “went to print on Wednesday instead of Tuesday night in order to be able to include some election coverage. We do this during presidential and midterm elections.” 

TOP STORY
Volume 20
Issue 8

Florida’s Watermark now in the film business

by Fred Kuhr

The owner of Watermark, based in Orlando, Fla., has created a film company, with plans for a documentary called “Greetings From Queertown: Orlando” already in the works.

Watermark Film Company was launched by Watermark Publishing Group owner Rick Claggett “as a way to create, produce and distribute films that inform and educate audiences on the LGBTQ experience,” according to a press release.

Already, the film’s first trailer was unveiled at a private fundraising event at in Orlando over the summer.

“Greetings From Queertown: Orlando” will look at Orlando’s LGBTQ community from its early beginnings to its place in one of the most progressive cities in the U.S., according to the company.

“In the wake of Pulse, this community came together to be ‘Orlando Strong,’” said Claggett. “But I wanted to know, where did this story begin? Who were the pioneers? This documentary will answer those questions.”

“Greetings from Queertown: Orlando” looks to explore the pivotal moments in Central Florida’s LGBT story. Events in the film will include the launch of the LGBT+ Center of Central Florida, the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Orlando, the beginning of Gay Day at Magic Kingdom, the first LGBT Pride parade held downtown and the tragedy at Pulse.

The documentary will film these stories as told by Orlando’s LGBTQ leaders, innovators, activists and entertainers who lived it, according to the company.

“The idea originally started when I saw the ABC miniseries ‘When We Rise,’” said Claggett. “After watching that show I thought, ‘Who were the people on our frontlines here in Central Florida fighting for LGBTQ rights and equality?’”

The film’s trailer features interviews with Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, drag performer Darcel Stevens, Watermark founder Tom Dyer, and Florida House Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith.

While “Queertown” is Watermark’s first film endeavor, producer and director Sandi Hulon has been working in video production for 15 years. Claggett said the company will continue to use film as a medium to tell stories. “We’ve been a part of telling the story of this community forever, it’s just logical that this is the next progression in it. It’s the future of what we do,” Claggett said.

The film is now in its fundraising stage, according to Watermark, with a goal of raising $200,000. Perks include a Facebook thank you post, a digital download of the film or VIP seats at the film’s premiere.

There currently isn’t a release date, but Claggett said he’s hoping to debut it at a film festival within the next year.

For more information on “Greetings From Queertown: Orlando, go to GreetingsFromQueertown.com.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 20
Issue 8

OUT, Advocate owners defend donation to anti-gay Republican

by Fred Kuhr

Stepbrothers Adam Levin and Maxx Abramowitz, who now own OUT magazine and The Advocate under the umbrella of their new holding company PRIDE Media, came under fire recently for donating to anti-gay Republican - and just defeated - California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

Women’s Wear Daily - under the headline “OUT Magazine, PRIDE Media Rife With Challenges for New Editor” - reported in September that the brothers, who also are the leadership team behind pro-cannabis High Times Magazine, supported Rohrabacher, who only this year said it should be legal for realtors to refuse to sell homes to LGBT people.

Editorially, High Times also praised Rohrabacher for his support of cannabis.

But Levin has also donated to California Congressman Devin Nunes, newly defeated U.S. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, and Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.
Adam Levin

In response, a PRIDE Media spokesperson issued a statement to Women’s Wear Daily came to the defence of Levin, who is straight. “Adam is a staunch supporter of pro-Israel, pro-cannabis and LGBT issues and consistently works across the political spectrum to ensure he’s advocating effectively on behalf of each of these communities.”

Levin then spoke directly with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News in October. In that story, Levin doesn’t deny the donation, but blames it becoming a news story on “a fired employee who was upset. I have donated to politicians on both sides of the aisle, most from my support of pro-Israel candidates.”

Levin notes in the story that he has given to California Democrats including Congressman Adam Schiff and Governor-elect Gavin Newsom. He also said he’s only met Rohrabacher twice, calling him “a crazy old man that has been supportive of the cannabis industry.” Levin also said he is “cautious” about political donations because “things could come up if I supported the wrong ones, but can’t stop one’s actions after you support [them].”

The San Diego publication also spoke with openly gay PRIDE Media CEO Nathan Coyle, who said that “Levin will be more careful of who he gives money to in the future."

IN THE NEWS
Volume 20
Issue 8

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Chill magazine

Interview with Editorial Director and co-founder Diane Anderson-Minshall and Editor in Chief Gerald Garth
by Joe Siegel

Location: Los Angeles and New York

Geographic coverage area: National (and via digital, international)

Year founded: 2018

Staff size and breakdown: A key staff of about eight editorial positions (not all are full time, since the same crew also produces The Advocate and Plus magazines)
Editor in chief Gerald Garth
Managing Editor Dimitri Moise
Senior Editor David Artavia
Production editor Jacob Anderson-Minshall
Associate editor Desiree Guerrero
Features editor Savas Abadsidis
Editorial director Diane Anderson-Minshall
Assistant to the editor Donald Padgett
Key freelancers include style editor James Brown III and sneaker editor Thomas Freeman as well as a handful of other rotating freelancers

Key demographics: A men's magazine for young urban millennials who may or may not use labels to define themselves, which largely means the audience is young men of color, some gay or bi, some straight, many who eschew labels altogether

Website: www.chill.us

*****

PPQ: What feature or features of Chill magazine have been the most popular with readers? 

Anderson-Minshall: Our cover stories, of course, are among the most popular because they're usually rather incisive looks at some of the thought leaders in the worlds of entertainment and hip-hop. We get a lot of kudos for our style sections as well and our fitness sections (which are very much akin to Men's Health but with Black and brown guys in them) are also popular. 

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

Anderson-Minshall: Our publisher Joe Valentino and I had been bouncing around the idea of this magazine for years, in part inspired by the number of Black men I had met that felt like there wasn't a space for them in LGBTQ media or mainstream media. We knew from the outset our readers would be gay-friendly — that's a must — but would be comfortable with a magazine that spoke to them and their friends regardless of orientation. We wanted the universality of men's voices and began talking with Gerald Garth. As a Black man, Gerald was critical in framing the voice and tone of the magazine. The editorial team that works on Chill is almost entirely people of color, and that was critical to us.  We're all about inspiration and empowerment, in looking and feeling good and being healthy, but we want to offer you a space to chill with it too.

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

Anderson-Minshall: Well, any new magazine launch has the challenge of convincing advertisers you're worth their investment and that you're reaching the audience you promise to reach. Fortunately, we had some early adopters and we already have new accounts lined up for 2019.

Garth: Chill has made some major strides. Overcoming concerns like inserting a new brand in the market can be a concern. But what’s great about Chill is the brand uniquely speaks to audiences that for a long time, have not had a voice - or rather, a very limited voice. Being able to showcase and bring to life the experiences of the millennial man of color is a value that Chill brings like none other.

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Chill facing now?
Diane Anderson-Minshall

Anderson-Minshall: We just put money into building a digital team that not just does digital content, but also audience engagement and social media trafficking. Our big challenge in the next couple of months is to really boost our digital followers, but I'm optimistic, not just because we've really finally had time to focus on that with our small team, but we're using the power of Pride Media that has made our other brands the most viewed LGBT sites in the country.

PPQ: How has Chill changed since it was first launched?

Anderson-Minshall: We're so new, I'm not sure we've had much change, but it does take a few issues to really hone your tone and style and voice, so clearly those things are much sharper now. And like any good media outlet, we've listened to our readers and followers and used their feedback to better tailor what we're doing editorially.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make?

Anderson-Minshall: Well as editors we always want it to be bigger and better, so we're eager for a page count increase in print, which will happen sometime in 2019 I bet.

Garth: I’m excited to see the brand grow. New partnerships, stronger visibility, and increased engagement. I’m also excited to see more contributors and more digital and video.  Just overall a bigger Chill!

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

Anderson-Minshall: Our most recent cover story with Charlamagne the God is getting a lot of traffic and some media pick up, which I think is because it's rare to have men talk about mental health, especially guys like Charlamagne.

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

Anderson-Minshall: Let's say 3. Our readers can be who they want to be without the baggage of labels, but surely among them some ID as gay, bi, trans, queer, SGL, and straight.

PPQ: Do you see yourselves as “activist journalists”? If so, in what way? 

Anderson-Minshall: I definitely see myself as an advocacy journalist because you really can't do a publication aimed at a niche audience (and face it, ours is quite niche if you look at men of color with complex personal identities) without being an advocacy journalist.

Gerald Garth
Garth: For me, activism is a way of life, particularly when you speak to the needs and experiences of underrepresented people. Some of the things Chill speaks to when it comes to young men of color, particularly Black and Latino men: mental and emotional wellness, sexual health and identity, knowing your rights, countering discrimination, but all through a social voice that really uniquely engages our readers.

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

Anderson-Minshall: I'm always surprised by the number of white men or women (cis and trans) who say that even though they're not our target audience, they feel like the magazine really speaks to them. And I recall Prince Michael (who is straight) and Bobby Lyte (who is gay) from the TV series “Love and Hip Hop: Miami” talking about places where gay and straight men can hang together and how Chill in many ways has created that space.

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

Anderson-Minshall: Figure out who your audience really is and make it as specific as possible. Don’t try to reach everyone; there's great value in reaching a very specific niche audience. But within that, diversify as much as possible. We do not live in the LGBT world that existed even a decade ago, so our media absolutely shouldn't look like we do. 

Garth: Find your voice. Be able to speak passionately and well about issues and topics that are important to you and your communities. And respect intersections, respecting the places where multiple identities exist. For example, navigating the world as an LGBT person looks very different depending on race, location, religion, and so forth. Find spaces that allow you to specifically and authentically speak to the layers of one’s being.
PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 20
Issue 8