Sunday, November 17, 2019

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

Jan Stevenson & Susan Horowitz of
Between The Lines
BETWEEN THE LINES, based in Livonia, Mich., held its 9th annual LGBTQ Wedding, Home and Life Expo in Dearborn on October 13, 2019.

GOGUIDE MAGAZINE, based in Iowa City, is publishing its “Guide to the Iowa Caucuses Special Issue” in December 2020.

LGBT HISTORY MONTH, organized by the Philadelphia-based EQUALITY FORUM, is seeking nominations for its 2020 LGBT History Month Icons. The deadline is December 6, 2020. Submit nominations at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdCbDgLA-bNz2gV4HbyqnL4UST1bXnTXdJePxhFuqRADa6AvA/viewform?formkey=dFhoRjNZMjIyUzV1cVZGVnRBay16RXc6MQ

THE WASHINGTON BLADE celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala at the Intercontinental Hotel at the Wharf in Washington, D.C. on October 18, 2019.

WINDY CITY TIMES, based in Chicago, entered its 36th year of publication with its October 2, 2019, issue.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 21
Issue 8

Apple's poor track record advertising in LGBTQ media

by Scott Stiffler
(This article is the first in a series by the Washington Blade’s Scott Stiffler looking into large corporations and their relationship with LGBTQ media. It is reprinted here with permission.)

We buy their phones, wear their watches, and use their products to drive our businesses — but finding their iconic ads in the pages of your local LGBT newspaper or website is like looking for an apple in an orange grove.

“Some big companies with a good reputation in the community, like Apple, fail when it comes to speaking to us directly, effectively,” says Leo Cusimano, publisher and owner of the Dallas Voice newspaper, and OUT North Texas, a glossy magazine. “More and more, LGBT individuals are frustrated by brands that treat them as an afterthought.”

National advertising via mainstream media certainly gets the word out — but depictions of LGBT consumers remain rare to the point of novelty, leaving many wondering why companies who lavish their attention on the general public don’t appeal directly to a niche market eager for a signal that they, too, are valued.

Dallas Voice Publisher Leo Cusimano
“When I see an ad in a local LGBT publication or website,” says Cusimano, “I think, ‘Look, they are targeting me.’ This local perspective is very important, particularly from a grassroots effort. We see brand switching from one product or service when advertisers utilize this approach. We’re a loyal demographic who likes to do business with companies that advertise in our backyard.”

Cusimano, who holds a business degree, says the onus is on LGBT media to “make an advertiser aware of the advantages of niche marketing. Our job is to elevate their brand in the community. And when you do that, it really helps trigger that sale.”

Cusimano cites Wells Fargo and Facebook as companies that have advertised with his publications. You’ll find Bridgestone tires on his car, he notes, because a few years ago, “They did a 12-month campaign with Dallas Voice. It really changed people’s minds, to know there is a company that [consistently] advertises with us,” instead of ghosting the community once Pride month has come and gone.

“They’re missing a good opportunity,” says Pride Source Media CFO Jan Stevenson, of Apple.

For 26 years, Stevenson and her wife, Susan Horowitz, have published Michigan’s weekly newspaper, Between the Lines, which, along with their Pride Source Yellow Pages, serves the LGBT community.

“Every single computer in our business” is an Apple product, says Stevenson, who notes the company’s “excellent reputation as an LGBT-friendly player” could be leveraged “so easily, with just some simple ads that say, ‘We want your business.’”

A positive perception pays dividends, as noted in Community Marketing & Insights’ 13th Annual LGBTQ Community Survey. Released earlier this year, 27 percent of respondents said they were “significantly more likely to purchase” when companies advertise in the LGBTQ digital and print media. Forty-one percent said advertising in the LGBTQ media had a greater impact on them than when companies advertise in the mainstream media — and a 2016-2017 National LGBT Media Association study on consumer shifts saw two in three LGBTQ+ individuals saying, “I am frustrated by brands that treat people like me as an afterthought.” (Fifty-one percent of respondents purchased a new smartphone in the last 12 months.)

Still, Stevenson’s company has had no success in its sales outreach to the tech behemoth.

Nor has Todd Evans, who, as president and CEO of Rivendell Media, represents 95 percent of all LGBT media in the U.S. Rivendell has made numerous overtures to Apple, with no results. (Rivendell Media is also the publisher of Press Pass Q.)

“The demographics seem perfect for Apple,” said Evans. “LGBTs are early adopters of new technology, and have very high entrepreneurial tendencies, which would be a natural target for a tech company. They’re a very progressive company, or thought to be. Even the CEO is LGBT. Yet to our knowledge, Apple has never done any direct-to-consumer [LGBT] outreach with any of their ad campaigns.”

Rivendell CEO Todd Evans
If they have, that sales call has yet to reach Rivendell, which credits Apple products for “part of our success in business, back to when our founder was Beta testing for Apple,” says Evans. “We’ve reached out to their agencies [currently OMD], and they’ve been very open to proposals. But it never seems to go anywhere. And Apple, it’s impossible to get through to the client. Once the client is interested, the agency does whatever they want.”

Of late, says Evans, Rivendell has placed an emphasis on educating potential buyers that LGBT media is “completely different than other minority media, like African American or Hispanic. For example, in our community, there is no network TV like Telemundo, no BET, no national magazine with million-plus circulation. We get our information differently.”

And despite the march to digital as a favored, oftentimes sole, marketing strategy, “What a lot of people aren’t realizing is that in LGBT media, print is still very much king,” notes Evans. “For $100,000, you can pretty much own LGBT media, a full-page ad in most major LGBT publications in America. That is chump change for most companies’ advertising budgets, and digital just does not do as well, without print’s call to action.”

With just about 130 LGBT publications nationwide, Evans is “shocked that more companies don’t realize they can make a difference, to get a community behind them.”

Absolut Vodka is the ultimate success story. In 1981, recalls Evans, “They came into the market — not to get their feet wet, but to own it.” Today, Absolut has “phenomenal brand recognition, and they maintain a presence in the LGBT community. There are so many vodkas out there, they don’t want to give up that space, to lose that equity.”

At a time when other high-quality products are shrinking market share and eroding consumer confidence built by the belief that Apple products are hands-down superior to the alternatives, longtime Apple loyalist Evans is “beginning to think twice about my next computer.” Technology as well as pricing, he observes, “have caught up with Apple. I’m just back from the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce conference,” which had over 1,500 LGBT businesses in attendance. “I was noticing,” recalls Evans, “There were as many Samsungs as there were iPhones. So it seems the right time for Apple to hedge their bets.”

“We do have real alternatives today,” says Cusimano. “We don’t have ads from Samsung, and this is a prime opportunity for [Apple] to capitalize on that, to be trendsetters. They did that years ago, in education — getting their computers in schools, for kids. It’s time for them to look closer at the LGBT community.”

Cusimano says he’s working with the National LGBT Media Association to augment the way the Human Rights Campaign compiles statistics for its Corporate Equality Index. Described by HRC as an annual “national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees,” a positive rating is widely cited by corporations as a way to shore up their reputation.

The Index’s Category 4, notes Cusimano, “is about philanthropic work or advertising in LGBT media.” This allows corporations “to donate to an event, and that checks that box for them. We want HRC to make it a stand-alone category, where you have to advertise in LGBT media.”

As this story was first published, that advertising “get” remained as elusive as responses to our request for comment. A call to Apple’s Media Helpline yielded a swift response from its representative, Fred Sainz, with this reporter honoring his request to submit questions. Despite several follow-up email exchanges, Apple did not respond to our inquiries.

TOP STORY
Volume 21
Issue 8

PGN unveils new, newsier look

by Fred Kuhr

Philadelphia Gay News recently unveiled its new look, its first redesign since 2011. 

The newspaper’s more streamlined and cleaner look is meant to reflect its commitment to news coverage, according to founder and publisher Mark Segal.

“We looked at other designs from publications we respected, primarily in mainstream media since many in LGBT media seems to be replicating magazine style,” said Segal. “We want our readers to know this is a newspaper and will treat their community news with ‘Honesty, Integrity and Professionalism,’ which has been our motto since 1976.”

While its three-word motto remains on the front page, the purple block with the letters PGN is now smaller. In fact, there is less of the purple accent color than has been used in the past.

“Over the decades, PGN like other newspapers had changed it’s look to reflect the times,” said Segal. “Usually before unveiling the new format we’d inform our readers with announcements in the paper. There was a standard in the profession to do so for one month before the change. This time we decided otherwise, and did so with one announcement the week before. Our thoughts were that everything in life, including how you get your news, has become faster, and we should reflect that change as well.

Given the swift turnaround, Segal wasn’t sure how readers would react to the change. "But luckily for us, Philadelphia’s second largest LGBT event was just two weeks away, and we mounted a both at OUTfest, Philadelphia’s very large LGBT Street festival. People just came up to our booth and told us what they thought. Practically all the comments were positive and, in a show of the times, we often heard, ‘It’s about time.’”

Segal said that most commenters like the new “creative white space we incorporated” and the more “newsy” look. He appreciates that response since “our mission from day one, 44 years ago, was to be a newspaper not a magazine.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 21
Issue 8

Baltimore OUTloud’s Jim Williams remembered

by Fred Kuhr

Jim Williams, the co-founder and longtime co-publisher of Baltimore OUTloud, passed away on October 4, 2019. Williams retired from the newspaper this past June due to ill health related to heart and lung issues, according to a report in Baltimore OUTloud. He was 84.

He was not only one of the four original founders of Baltimore OUTloud, but became co-publisher in 2009 after the retirement of founding publisher Mike Chase. He was also a driving force behind the decision to purchase Baltimore Gay Paper.

Jim Williams
According to current Baltimore OUTloud publisher Jim Becker, Williams’ background in LGBT nonprofits made him “a natural fit” as a founder of the newspaper.

“He had great insight into the needs of the community that, combined with a strong business sense, made him invaluable to the newspaper,” Becker said, in the pages of Baltimore OUTloud. “Until his health began to take its toll, Jim had boundless energy and a love of life, perhaps the result of growing up in New Orleans. He had a great sense of humor, loved a good party, and could light up a room. I will miss him as a tremendous partner in publishing Baltimore OUTloud and as a dear friend.”

Publisher emeritus Mike Chase added, “I met Jim shortly after he came to Baltimore and was immediately struck by his commitment to helping those with HIV/AIDS. He embraced Baltimore’s Q-plus community while making the city his home. It was that community spirit that led us to ask him to join in the founding of Baltimore OUTloud. Jim was a patron of local artists and all things of beauty. He faced life’s challenges with his characteristic good humor and a generous nature. I have been proud to call Jim a friend, and know he will be missed by many.”

Williams was originally an eight-grade English teacher, but then went on to work for the National Education Association (NEA), starting in the 1960s, particularly around issues of integration. After retiring from the NEA in the ‘80s, he worked for several Washington, D.C., nonprofits, including Food and Friends. He was then hired as executive director of Movable Feast. After retiring from Movable Feast, he became executive director of AIDS Interfaith Residential Services (AIRS), another AIDS service organization.

While working for Movable Feast, he met Chase, who was then editor of Gay Life newspaper. When Chase’s spouse Lee Mooney, Joe Berg, and Jim Becker decided to launch Baltimore OUTloud, Williams was tapped to join the effort.

Williams is survived by a brother, son, and daughter. A memorial service will be held on December 7, 2019, at Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church in Baltimore.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 21
Issue 8

GUEST COMMENTARY: Is PrEP forgetting the community?

by Mark Segal
(Mark Segal is the publisher of Philadelphia Gay News. This column original appeared in PGN. It is reprinted here with permission.)

If you’re a member of the LGBT community, you’re affected by HIV/AIDS in many ways. And if you needed information related to HIV/AIDS when the crisis emerged, there was only one reliable place that you could turn —  your local LGBT newspaper. 
Mark Segal

At that time, the mainstream media, even the New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer, were derelict in their duties as media sources and journalists. If you needed to know where to receive treatment, what drugs were available to help, and new organizations that were formed to help support the fight, the only place you could find information on a regular, reliable basis was your local LGBT newspaper.

It was also in your local LGBT newspaper that you first read about the new drug called PrEP. The company that developed PrEP knew that among their markets was the LGBT community, so they made sure we received press releases about promising results from the drug during development.

The first marketing campaign benefited the gay community, our community, a community very much affected by HIV/AIDS. But you might have noticed it’s no longer this way. These drug companies have a TV strategy now. Have you seen their commercials on FX or other TV channels?

It might not seem important to you that a drug company has decided to leave the LGBT media market and head to the greener pastures of mainstream media, but it is, because LGBT media will be writing about the long-term effects of PrEP, as we did with the first miracle drug, AZT. And it is LGBT media that will write about any new drugs that come along, and new drugs will come because advancements are always being made.

Why am I writing this? As someone who has seen this community grow for 50 years now, I’ve also watched as corporate America has woken up to how strong a buying market we are. I’m acutely aware of corporate responsibility to give back to communities that support their products, and I applaud the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce for educating us about economic equality. If our community is partially responsible for the success of a product, shouldn’t the company support our community? Or, even more logically, shouldn’t the company continue to seek people who need the product by advertising in a place that they trust?

A recent study from the Williams Institute points out, thanks to PrEP, there is a sexual revolution going on in our community. Doesn’t that mean they have a responsibility to educate our community?

This is a discussion that many LGBT publishers have had in a changing media landscape. Looking back over 50 years of activism, including 44 as a publisher of LGBT media, I’m happy to see banks, communications companies, casinos and real estate companies in our papers. Do you know why we have so many companies in our papers? It’s because of your strong voice and loyalty to companies that support our community. Think Absolut Vodka.

While we can easily find what the Swedish vodka company has done for the LGBT community and media for 25 years, especially in support of the HIV/AIDS community, can we say the same for companies who make PrEP or an economic powerhouse like Apple? I think you know the answer.

Maybe in my next 50 years of activism, I’ll see an Apple ad in an LGBT newspaper. And maybe PrEP companies will come to the realization that you can’t just blare ads on mainstream media and hope that people will pay attention. Our community takes LGBT media seriously because we take our community seriously. Our number one concern is educating the people we serve, something that PrEP companies seem to have, unfortunately, forgotten. 

GUEST COMMENTARY
Volume 21
Issue 8

PRESSING QUESTIONS: GoGuide Magazine of Iowa City, Iowa

Interview with Publisher Tim Nedoba
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: Iowa City and the University of Iowa, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines

Year founded: 2016

Staff size and breakdown: One publisher/editor (who also does layout, distribution and ad sales) and six writers


*****

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

Publisher Tim Nedoba: There were two reasons for starting GoGuide. One was the then-executive director of One Iowa, Donna Red Wing. At the time, the state of Iowa had no publications for the LGBTQIA people of Iowa, and she strongly supported the idea that a magazine was needed in eastern Iowa. Two was my personal feeling of unfinished work at the now-defunct Chicago Free Press.

PPQ: What challenges has GoGuide had to overcome since its inception? 

Tim Nedoba
Nedoba: The big problem has been to build name recognition and to produce both a quality magazine and a quality website. We're still working on both, but we've been able to make a lot of progress in building relationships. Right now, the website is our big focus. Working with our design partners AIT Inc., we're upgrading almost weekly. I'm really proud of the work they're doing and I'm excited about the potential of the site. The print product and the website are really two different entities. They work in partnership with each other but neither is the identical twin of the other. 

PPQ: What challenge is GoGuide facing now?

Nedoba: The biggest challenge has been my own. I had a lot of experience on the publishing/sales/marketing side of the business, but none on the editorial side. That has been our challenge since the inception, learning the editorial side of the company. I've had great mentors in my work history. I've tried to think in terms of how these past mentors would handle the situation and then apply that to GoGuide.

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

Nedoba: It has evolved from an entertainment-only publication to a news and entertainment publication. For example, our "Guide to the Iowa Caucuses" has been very popular. This series has included one-on-one interviews with several candidates this fall, including most recently Senator Cory Booker and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. 
PPQ: What one change would you like to make?

Nedoba: Hiring a real editor. Once we grow to the point that it’s possible to pay that person decent wages, hiring an editor will be the next investment.

PPQ: What has been the biggest news story has GoGuide has covered? 

Nedoba: It's the ongoing story, but I believe it will be set in February and throughout the political year, and that's our coverage of the first openly gay person running for president of the United States.

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

Nedoba: Go for it. Realize it will take a lot of work and will take a lot of your time, but in the long run, it will be worth the effort. It's a dream job of a lifetime. There isn't anything more rewarding than starting your own publication and doing the best you can to serve the local community.

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 21
Issue 8

Sunday, October 20, 2019

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

CHANNEL Q, an LGBTQ-oriented radio station operated by radio giant ENTERCOM, entered into nine new markets, including Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Norfolk, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Wilkes-Barre, Penn. That brings the station to a total of 28 different media markets.

ECHO MAGAZINE, based in Phoenix, celebrated its 30th anniversary with its October 2019 issue.

EQUALIZE is a new monthly podcast from New Jersey’s GARDEN STATE EQUALITY. The podcast’s 30-minute episodes will highlight the state’s queer movers and shakers.

GOGUIDE MAGAZINE, based in Iowa City, entered its fourth year of publication with its September 2019 issue.

OUR LIVES, based in Madison, Wisc., announced that after seven years, EMILY MILLS has stepped down as editor. Mills will now work in the field of the environment and conservation, but will stay on as a freelance reporter for the foreseeable future.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 21
Volume 7

Buttigieg slams LGBTQ media, then backtracks

by Joe Siegel

Openly gay Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has retracted his criticism of LGBTQ media after a backlash from media outlets and others in the community.

Buttigieg made his initial comments during his interview on “The Clay Cane Show” on the SiriusXM Urban View channel. Cane, who is gay, asked, “I’m sure you’ve heard this before in LGBT circles that more masculine-presenting men have more access. How different would it be if you were, quote-unquote, more effeminate?”

“It’s tough for me to know,” Buttigieg replied. “I just am what I am, and, you know, there’s going to be a lot of that. That’s why I, I can’t even read the LGBT media anymore, because it’s all, ‘He’s too gay, not gay enough, wrong kind of gay.’ All I know is that life became a lot easier when I just started allowing myself to be myself and I’ll let other people write up whether I’m ‘too this’ or ‘too that.’”

Buttigieg later admitted he had “a grumpy moment” before acknowledging both the importance of queer media and that criticisms of his sexuality come from sources other than LGBTQ media.

Kevin Naff, editor of the Washington Blade, responded to Buttigieg’s criticism in an e-mail sent to his campaign staff: “Contrary to his assertion, we have not criticized him for ‘not being gay enough.’ The two stories I've seen in that vein were in Slate and Vice mainstream outlets. I hope he will correct these offensive remarks and not join the dangerous 'Fake News’ media attacks that have endangered the lives of many working journalists.”

Mark Ariel, publisher of Los Angeles’ The Fight, was willing to cut Buttigieg some slack.

“I can understand the annoyance of reading somewhere that you're not ‘gay enough,’ and that most likely was written in some LGBTQ media outlets,” Ariel said. “The Fight has always been very supportive of Mayor Pete, and we will continue to be supportive. Beyond the fact that he is the first gay candidate to make it this far, we are more or less aligned with his views.”

Leo Cusimano, editor of Dallas Voice, said the newspaper had “not done any reporting on Pete Buttigieg’s 'level of gayness’ and whether he is too gay or not gay enough.”

Cusimano remains supportive of Buttigieg’s candidacy: “Pete is very intelligent and, as I have investigated his candidacy further, it has become obvious to me that he has exhausted every talent and effort in his research of the issues.”

Some LGBTQ journalists, such as Diane Anderson-Minshall, editorial director of The Advocate and Chill magazines, believe Buttigieg is under pressure to represent the entirety of the LGBTQ community.

“I suspect though that [Buttigieg] is a bit on edge because he knows that just as President Barack Obama was the man to make it for African-Americans, Pete is just the kind of LGBTQ candidate that will become the first of us to make it to the White House,” Anderson-Minshall said. “He's a white, Christian, upper-middle-class, monogamous, non-threatening, and easy on the eyes man with a homespun Midwest sensibility that makes people like him.”

(Read Diane Anderson-Minshall’s guest commentary on this issue below.)

TOP STORY
Volume 21
Issue 7

Iowa’s GoGuide interviewing presidential candidates ahead of caucuses

by Joe Siegel

GoGuide, based in Iowa City, has been interviewing many of the Democratic presidential candidates in anticipation of February’s Iowa caucuses. Some, however, have been easier to approach than others, according to publisher Tim Nedoba.

To date, GoGuide has spoken with Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, John Delaney, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

“Our questions are about the same for each candidate and they're intended to be informative with no gotcha-type questions included,” Nedoba said. “The LGBTQ community, friends, and allies want to know where the candidates stand on the issues, not how GoGuide could somehow catch a candidate into making a poor statement or having to explain something that is of no interest to anyone at this time of the race.”

The response to Buttigieg on the August cover was hugely favorable. Nedoba reports it was “by far the most picked up [issue] in the history of the magazine.”

Nedoba is also critical of the way other media outlets have covered Buttigieg. “I don't follow other local LGBTQ publications, but I do see national publications from time to time and I haven't been impressed with their coverage. It’s been over the top. It has appeared to me the national LGBTQ media was trying to drive the agenda for Buttigieg rather than waiting for a position statement from the candidate himself.”

Nedoba said GoGuide will be publishing a pre-caucuses double issue with a street date of Dec. 1, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020.  “It will highlight in print and online the positives of each candidate.”

GoGuide will hold off on making an endorsement for now. “At this time I'm not willing to commit to an endorsement for the Iowa caucuses,” Nedoba added.

The interview series can be found at GoGuideMagazine.com.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 21
Issue 7

California newspapers seek exemption from new law affecting freelancers

by Fred Kuhr

San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter (BAR) is one of many newspapers in the Golden State that are seeking an industry exemption from the state’s new law limiting the classification of contract workers, known as Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5).

While the new law was originally drafted to help gig economy workers such as Uber and Lyft drivers, it “has ensnared many other industries that rely on contractors,” according to an editorial in BAR. “In our case, AB 5 would be a crippling blow, as the Bay Area Reporter relies on about 50 freelance reporters, critics, photographers, and delivery drivers.”
And in an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, Thomas W. Newton, executive director of the California News Publishers Association (CNPA), and James W. Ewert, the group’s attorney, predicted that AB 5 will lead to the end of home delivery.

BAR noted, “Small news and media outlets like ours simply cannot hire additional full-time or part-time employers — that’s why we, and many other industries, rely on contract workers.”

Proponents of the law argue it will give workers previously classified as independent contractors minimum wage, overtime, sick leave, unemployment and other benefits. It will also prevent the state from losing $8 billion from payroll taxes that independent contractors and companies who use them do not pay. Opponents, however, argue that the law will increase labor costs by up to 30 percent, create higher costs for customers, reduced service, and reduce flexibility for workers.

As noted in the op-ed by the CNPA, AB 5 “would force all businesses to hire independent contractors as employees — unless the business has been given a special exemption by the Legislature. So far, the Legislature has refused to grant one to the newspaper industry.” Such exemptions have already been granted to doctors and realtors.

According to BAR, “Newspapers need an exemption to AB 5.” Thus far, the industry has only won a one-year extension for newspaper carriers.

BAR also argues that a deal struck by openly gay state Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat, isn’t workable. According to the deal, freelancer writers and photographers could produce 35 assignments a year and still be considered a freelancer.

“But that’s unrealistic in our case, and for many other publications,” BAR wrote. “What’s more, many freelancers may quit entirely if they are limited to such low production volume; after all, they make their living based on the number of articles they write or photo assignments they complete for us and other media. We would have to hire another 50 freelancers, at least, in an economy and region where it’s increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to do so.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 21
Issue 7

GUEST COMMENTARY: Mayor Pete should remember he stands on the shoulders of history

by Diane Anderson-Minshall
(Diane Anderson-Minshall is the editorial director for The Advocate and Chill magazines and editor in chief of Plus magazine. A version of this op-ed ran on Advocate.com.)

I was disappointed I didn't get a chance to challenge Mayor Pete Buttigieg on his comments regarding LGBTQ media at the LGBTQ Forum that The Advocate hosted recently. I think it's a classic case of someone speaking without having all the facts.

Diane Anderson-Minshall
The press outlets that have speculated about what kind of gay man he is or isn’t have largely been mainstream outlets like The New Republic, even if they've employed other gay men to do so. And in that case, Mayor Pete should remember the writer of that The New Republic’s “satire" is an author and book critic, not a political pundit or policy wonk by any means.

I suspect though that Buttigieg is a bit on edge because he knows that just as President Barack Obama was the man to make it for African-Americans, Pete is just the kind of LGBTQ candidate that will become the first of us to make it to the White House. He's a white, Christian, upper-middle-class, monogamous, non-threatening, and easy on the eyes man with a homespun Midwest sensibility that makes people like him. I like him. And I'm sure he knows that he has that privilege — and it is weighty.

But with it comes the responsibility of remembering all the "radicals" that got him to that position — the gay rights activist Barbara Gittings marching in the streets, AIDS activists Sean Strub and Peter Staley hoisting giant condoms over a congressman’s house, lesbian literary icons like Audre Lorde who spoke out until their premature deaths (from health issues that plague our underserved community), the bisexual performers like Josephine Baker who helped bring an end to World War II, pioneering activists including Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson (the latter one of so many murdered Black trans women) paving way for transgender women today, civil rights activist Bayard Rustin helping launch the movement, and politician Harvey Milk, a flamboyant and feminine gay man who couldn't help but "sound gay."

There’s also the hundreds of us who have worked in LGBTQ media over the past seven decades since Edith Eyde (under the pen name Lisa Ben) published Vice Versa, the first North American lesbian publication. As the editorial director of the country's oldest LGBTQ magazine — The Advocate celebrated its 52nd anniversary this year — and someone in this field for 30 years, I know how hard it was for LGBTQ media outlets and the people who worked at them, especially in the years before the internet when we were often the sole voice reaching out to queer folks in many places.

Historically, police didn't just raid our bars, they raided our media. People threw our newspapers out in mass and burned our stands. Some of us were beaten in our own offices or homes simply for daring to be an LGBTQ journalist — this because we were out at work (when the mainstream didn't employ LGBTQ journalists who were out or even “suspected” of being queer) and because we dared discuss issues that mainstream publications wouldn’t care about until very recently.

Heck, it took Kamala Harris saying the names of the trans people — mostly Black women — who have again been murdered in record numbers to get their names in some mainstream presses.

Actually, I suggest Mayor Pete go read “Unspeakable: The Rise of the Gay and Lesbian Press in America” by Rodger Streitmatter before his next interview and rethink his assumptions. I think Pete wasn't just “grumpy," he was being short-sighted and forgetting that it is LGBTQ journalists — and other activists from his community — who have helped him get where he is, who have given him many of his rights and privileges that allow him to stand on the stages he’s on now, and have helped him build an audience and fan base among young people. 

He should remember, too, that those of us who were — or are — visibly radical, flamboyant, femme, of color, non-gender conforming, disabled, in-your-face, transgender, queer, polyamorous, and otherwise not the “right kind” of candidate are the very ones who helped push America to see that Pete Buttigieg could be.

GUEST COMMENTARY
Volume 21
Issue 7

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Las Vegas Spectrum

Interview with Publisher Rob Schlegel
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: Greater Las Vegas area, Clark County and Southern Nevada

Year founded: 2019

Key demographics: LGBTQ community at large with an emphasis on progressive politics

Web site: LasVegasSpectrum.com

*****

Press Pass Q: What feature or features of Las Vegas Spectrum have been the most popular with readers? 

Publisher Rob Schlegel: Our political columns as well as coverage of trans and women's events. 

Rob Schlegal
PPQ: Who came up with the name and what was the inspiration for it? 

Schlegel: Collaborative effort between editor Lyn Collier and myself, with some feedback from friends. The inspiration for Spectrum is that we're covering the entire spectrum of our community and will be inclusive of all orientations and gender expressions.

PPQ: On the cover of the magazine, under the name, it says "LGBTQIA+ |
Progressive." Why do use you this and how does your coverage reflect it? 

Schlegel: We are the first publication in Nevada that has specifically sought to be fully and fairly inclusive of all gender expressions and sexual orientations. We added the IA+ at the urging of the trans program at our local center. Naturally, others have urged us to be LGBTTIQQ2S or other variations. It’s very unwieldy and we may go back to just LGBTQ or LGBTQ+.

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Las Vegas Spectrum facing now?

Schlegel: Finding the right advertising sales staff, which in turn, will allow us to expand our content and distribution.

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

Schlegel: Size. From 36 pages up to 48 and 60 pages. As veteran journalists, we pretty much had a vision of what we wanted and have held pretty clear to that plan.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make? 

Schlegel: Better paper grade and more copies.

PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories has Las Vegas Spectrum covered?  

Schlegel: We've tried to assist local organizations in getting their complete stories out. For instance, many have been angry with our local pride organization for perceived wrongs. We asked them direct questions about issues and let them explain. Most found the answers were good.

PPQ: On the Kinsey Scale of 0-6, how gay is your publication? 

Schlegel: 4.5. We're LGBTQ+, not gay, and some of our readers are allied progressives.

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

Schlegel: We are responsible, fair and accurate journalists. Our opinions are actively progressive. Our publisher has had an LGBTQ/Progressive endorsement group since 1996 when he published a previous LGBTQ news magazine. The Spectrum will actively be involved in getting the LGBTQ+ community to the polls and have advice on who and what to vote for.

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

Schlegel: We do direct mail to same-gender households, using names we purchased from the county's marriage license list. There are same-gender couples that are shocked we found them as they've never been active in the community and have mailed them free copies. Of course, we are like public radio, it's free to get but we ask that they subscribe to make sure they get every issue. Our mailing list is larger than we can afford to mail, although we do direct-mail 6,200 copies. We hope to expand that to 12,000 in the future.

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 21
Issue 7