Tuesday, December 18, 2018


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.

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.”

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.”

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

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)

Volume 20
Issue 9