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

Letter from the Publisher

by Todd Evans

Rivendell Media publishes Press Pass Q as a service to LGBTQ media and, of course, I hope you find it useful. There is no revenue stream attached to Press Pass Q, but we publish because we want to keep a historical record of the LGBTQ media business and to give back in some small way to our industry. We try and limit the content to only things that we feel will help LGBTQ media and to be useful or interesting to other professionals in our business. To that end, if you would like a topic or issue covered, please let us know. If you have a suggestion about Press Pass Q or any other ideas to help the LGBTQ media business, we are certainly interested.

As I am now in my 25th year as CEO of Rivendell Media, and as we wrap Rivendell’s 40th year in business, we know our work is never going to be finished but can always be improved. Additionally, I want to say to LGBTQ publishers that I am always available to connect with. I might not have all the answers, but I am sure I will at least be able to steer you to someone who does know the answer and is trustworthy. As a sales team as well, we here at Rivendell are always wanting to learn and hear suggestions on how we might do a better job.  

The only silly question is the one not asked, and reaching out to the professionals in your field of business is always helpful. Even if I do not get the answer I am seeking, I usually learn something. I can best be reached via email at todd@rivendellmedia.com or via the office at 908-232-2021 ext 210, and Press Pass Q Editor Fred Kuhr can best be reached at editor@presspassq.com for issues related to the newsletter.

LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
Volume 21
Issue 7