Thursday, March 19, 2020

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

(What's happening at your publication? Let us know. Email editor Fred Kuhr at editor@presspassq.com)
CHRIS AZZOPARDI, an editor and writer with Q SYNDICATE, had an essay he wrote published by the New York Times on February 27, 2020. It’s called "I Love You (But Do You Love Mariah Carey?)" about two things intricately bound to his identity –– his queerness and Mariah Carey –– and how that's affected his romantic pursuits. His essay is available at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/opinion/mariah-carey-fans.html

BOI MAGAZINE, based in Chicago, entered its 20th year of publication with its January 2020 issue.

ECHO MAGAZINE, based in Phoenix, launched ECHO RADIO in December 2019 in partnership with RADIO PHOENIX, a local non-profit organization that hosts diverse music and talk programming.

THE FIGHT, based in Los Angeles, celebrated its ninth anniversary in its February 2020 issue.

Steve Ganzell
STEVE GANZELL, a longtime contributor to Los Angeles-based THE FIGHT, was honored with a  “Celebration of Life” on January 5, 2020, at EAGLE LA. A citywide celebration was held January 6, 2020, in Plummer Park in West Hollywood. He passed away at home of an apparent heart attack on December 1, 2019, just after speaking at a World AIDS Day memorial in West Hollywood. He was 65.

LETTERS FROM CAMP REHOBOTH, based in Rehoboth Beach, Del., entered its 30th year of publication with its February 7, 2020, issue.

LAUREN MEANS is the new managing editor of Memphis, Tenn.-based FOCUS. Previously, she was the magazine’s social media editor. She retains that function as digital media editor as well.

MIRROR, based in Wilton Manors, Fla., entered its ninth year of publication with its February/March 2020 issue.

Karen Ocamb
KAREN OCAMB, news editor of the LOS ANGELES BLADE, and MARK SEGAL, founder and publisher of PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS, are receiving special recognition by GLAAD as part of its 31st annual GLAAD Media Awards.

OUTCLIQUE, based in Wilton Manors, Fla., entered its fourth year of publication with its December 2019 issue.

OUTSMART, based in Houston, Texas, entered its 27th year of publication with its February 2020 issue.

HELEN JEANNETTE PARSHALL has been named the new communications manager of AIDS UNITED, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization seeking to end the HIV epidemic in the United States.

Q MAGAZINE, based in Key West, Fla., entered its 15th year of publication with its January 2020 issue.

SEATTLE GAY NEWS entered its 48th year of publication with its January 3, 2020, issue.

SOUTH FLORIDA GAY NEWS held its 10th anniversary celebration on January 15, 2020, at Grieco Ford of Fort Lauderdale.

SWERV MAGAZINE, based in Upper Marlboro, Md., entered its 13th year of publication with its January/February 2020 issue.

WIREMAG, based in Miami, entered its 33rd year of publication with its January 2, 2020, issue.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 21
Issue 12

Publications deal with fallout from global pandemic

by Joe Siegel

LGBTQ media outlets across the country are adjusting to a new reality in a world gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For one, Iowa’s GoGuide, based in Iowa City, announced free advertising for all businesses in two counties through June.

GoGuide's Tim Nedoba
“The coronavirus has and will affect all area industries, and the people that work for them will need assistance,” publisher Tim Nedoba said. “The pain of this pandemic will be even higher in our local communities with an extended ‘spring break’ at the University of Iowa and other local schools and colleges. … Our local community may lose as many as 30,000 residents as they go home and span out across the country.”

The epidemic is hitting the San Francisco Bay Area particularly hard and the Bay Area Reporter is facing a very difficult economic climate as a result.

“Social events and performances have been canceled, resulting in a corresponding drop in advertising,” said publisher Michael Yamashita. “We can only wait to see what happens in the next few weeks. We've decreased distribution in areas with reduced foot traffic due to people working from home.”

Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal said it is his paper’s responsibility to educate readers about the epidemic.

“We in the LGBT community have had to deal with an epidemic before, without any support from government or society,” Segal said. “At that time, it was LGBT media that did the job of informing people and getting them to protect themselves. The difference now is that this health crisis is one that the entire nation is going through, and therefore people do not feel ashamed to talk about it. The best we can all do — and those of us in the news business know it's a priority — is to get and give proper information.”

Some have instructed their reporters and staff to work from home instead of in the office and have altered the way they conduct business.

Diane Anderson-Minshall
of Pride Media
We've moved most of our meetings with advertisers and clients to virtual ones, which is working out really well actually since most of our advertisers were moving in that direction as well,” said Diane Anderson-Minshall, CEO and editorial director of Pride Media.

The travel industry is also going to be greatly impacted and Anderson-Minshall has some plans on how to help them out.

“If you look back at data, the LGBTQ consumer market was what actually uplifted the travel industry after 9/11,” Anderson-Minshall said. “We were the only consumers who were still traveling, so I think the travel industry will be looking to us even more now. We plan even more focus on travel, but will include more staycations in your own city, domestic travel, and ‘safe’ travel destinations, and tips on how to travel safely. We're getting a lot of interest in this direction.”

The Washington Blade and its sister paper, the Los Angeles Blade, will be publishing their print editions as usual, according to editor Kevin Naff.

“Local arts and entertainment advertising is obviously being impacted, but we look forward to the reopening of venues and events later in the spring,” Naff said. “In the meantime, the LGBTQ media know how to cover a pandemic better than anyone and we're working hard to fulfill our mission to readers and advertisers.”

Peter Frycki, publisher of Trenton-based Out in Jersey magazine said its coverage is shifting since many venues, business locations and LGBTQ centers closed.

“Many online ads and event listings are being cancelled out of public health concerns, and that is to be expected,” said Frycki. "It is too early to tell if there will be longterm financial impacts for us. In the last several days, many of our advertisers have cancelled or ‘paused’ ads for events listed online.”

Frycki said Out in Jersey still plans on as heavy distribution of the print publication as possible, but acknowledges there may be some difficulties.

“Some locations may be very slow and/or may even be closed when the April issue goes out,” Frycki said. “We can only hope that government officials and the general public act in a way that protects us so that there is an end to the pandemic as quickly as possible.”

TOP STORY
Volume 21
Issue 12

Buttigieg candidacy a proud moment for most, but not all

by Joe Siegel

Pete Buttigieg ended his historic campaign for president after a poor showing in South Carolina on February 29. The openly gay former mayor of South Bend, Ind., later endorsed rival Joe Biden.

But the questions remains: Did LGBTQ media coverage of Buttigieg’s campaign help or hinder his candidacy?

Iowa’s GoGuide, located in the first in the nation caucus, was vocal in its support.

“I have to believe that [our] endorsement of Pete Buttigieg helped his campaign locally,” said publisher Tim Nedoba. “I know that sounds arrogant, but it was a strong counterbalance to all the negative stories being written about his campaign. If you really dig into the subject, I believe you will find that almost 100 percent of the negative stories were coming from the Bernie Sanders campaign. I'm very proud of our endorsement. I'm very proud that an openly gay man running for president won the Iowa caucus.”

Mark Segal, publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News noted that since this was the first time an LGBTQ candidate had a real shot at becoming president, “It was a learn-on-the-job experience for both sides. Many of us were lucky to have covered out LGBT candidates in our area and had experience. It also was the first time a viable LGBT candidate had to learn how to deal with and respect LGBT media.”
  
Leo Cusimano, editor of Dallas Voice, said his news outlet did its best to treat each of the candidates equally. “We sent the same 10 questions to each of the Democratic candidates and published their written responses, verbatim, online as soon as they sent them. Because we don’t have the staff to cover each and every campaign event, we chose not to cover any of them, so that we wouldn’t be showing any bias.”

Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff believes the media coverage of Buttigieg was fair.

“I don't think the LGBTQ media were overly critical of Buttigieg's campaign,” said Naff. “Our job is to scrutinize all the campaigns, not to cheerlead. The LGBTQ media coverage was a key part of his early campaign, when no other media outlets could spell his name or paid him any attention, he talked to us and appeared on our cover.”

Buttigieg took a hit from Norm Kent, publisher of the South Florida Gay News, last June when Buttigieg wasn’t giving interviews with LGBTQ meida. “The gay candidate, energizing the gay American community, ought to be actively reaching out and empowering the free American gay press, not turning it away.” Kent wrote at the time. “The strategy Mayor Pete’s team is employing is one of utter and sheer stupidity.”

In November last year, however, the Wilton Manors, Fla.-based publication endorsed Buttigieg in the primaries.

In February of this year, Nicole Lashomb, editor in chief of Boston-based The Rainbow Times, also took issue with Buttigieg’s candidacy.

“Any presidential candidate that blatantly doesn’t care about the concerns of racial and ethnic oppressed groups will not get my vote either, even if he is a member of the LGBTQ+ community. I can’t,” Lashomb wrote. “I won’t support a candidacy that is riddled in privilege — for someone who shows no regard for other marginalized groups, groups that exist in his own LGBTQ+ community too.”

Egan Orion, in a column for the Seattle Gay News, pointed out how Buttigieg’s candidacy was a symbol of progress for the LGBTQ community. “His candidacy in and of itself wasn't about him being gay at all. He was a veteran. A mayor. A Rhodes scholar who went to Harvard and Oxford, who spoke many languages including Spanish and Arabic. To many, including a widening majority of non-LGBTQ Americans, he wasn't a gay candidate, he was a presidential candidate who happened to be gay.”

Orion added Buttigieg’s candidacy also reflected a newfound acceptance of same-sex marriages: “Even 10 years ago, the image of Pete and his husband standing, hands clasped, before an adoring audience as a plausible contender for president of the United States was impossible to imagine. The fact that the majority of the country sees that and barely even blinks now tells us how far we've come.” 

IN THE NEWS
Volume 21
Issue 12

Presidential campaigns largely forego LGBTQ media ads

by Joe Siegel

The myriad of political campaign advertising in a busy election year does not seem to have included LGBTQ media outlets.

“LGBTQ media is an afterthought for candidates,” said Russ White, publisher of Las Vegas-based QLife. “They will show up at parades and prides, but they won’t write checks.”

White said Hillary Clinton’s campaign spent $500 on advertising just six weeks before Election Day, after weeks of seeking free advertising. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg reached out for media coverage and were provided free editorial space.

Pete For America ad
in Las Vegas Spectrum
Pete For America did buy a full-page ad in Las Vegas Spectrum ahead of the February 22 Nevada caucuses, specifically asking readers to caucus for Buttigieg.

But overall, the presidential campaigns did a lousy job reaching out to LGBTQ readers via the queer press,” said Kevin Naff, editor of the Washington Blade. “We had some placements from Bloomberg and Buttigieg, but nothing from the others.”

“Some campaign plans have recently shifted but at this point in the year we've received under $30,000 in political advertising dollars,” said Ben Young, the director of sales and marketing for Colorado’s OutFront magazine. “It's still fairly early in the season and we're anticipating the national campaigns to build their state strategies in the next few weeks, so that number will likely change.”

As far as national advertising goes, Todd Evans, CEO of Rivendell Media, which handles national advertising for local publications, said he has not been contacted by political campaigns yet.

“But we have reached out to every campaign and have just warm interest from all,” said Evans, who is also publisher of Press Pass Q. “Only Bloomberg actually placed a few ads so far, and now that he is out I doubt there will be more to come.”

Evans said Rivendell has reached out to campaigns over the last three election cycles and the Democratic National Committee was even provided quotes for advertising, but nothing ever came of it. 

“My feeling is no one or any group should be taken for granted,” Evans said, “and that goes for the LGBTQ community as well.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 21
Issue 12

Out and The Advocate announce new editorial team

by Fred Kuhr

Last December, the editors in chief of two of the most venerable community magazines — Out and The Advocate — both announced that they were leaving Pride Media, which owns both publications, on the same day, December 11. In total, as many as 11 staffers left the company in one fell swoop.

But in February, the company announced what it called “a new and innovative leadership structure.”

According to the company, CEO Diane Anderson-Minshall will serve as executive editorial director of all five of its brands — Out, The Advocate, Plus, Pride, and Out Traveler, overseeing 15 editors, three social media experts, and five creative arts staffers who each work across the brands.

David Artavia and Tracy E. Gilchrist have been named editors in chief of The Advocate. Artavia, who has
New Out editor in chief Richard Pérez-Feria (left) and
new editors in chief of The Advocate Tracy E. Gilchrist
and David Artavia
most recently been serving as managing editor for The Advocate and Plus magazines, is an award-winning journalist whose recent reporting has ignited dialogue about #MeToo and sexual assault among gay and bi men as well as access to health care among LGBTQ people and those living with chronic health conditions.

Noting that Artavia is Latinx, Pride Media said he will continue to do work that pressures public officials to reach out to marginalized communities. Prior to The Advocate, Artavia was head writer for GayGuys.com and the popular gay blog Gayety.co. He was named one of Folio Magazine’s 2019 Rising Stars.

“The Advocate quite literally saved my life growing up,” said Artavia. “In today’s political climate, where the rights of LGBTQ people are constantly under threat and scrutiny, there has never been a more important time to preserve our stories. Our jobs as journalists have never been more vital, as we are the watchdogs and protectors of truth. I’m very much looking forward to continue uplifting the voices of the marginalized and bringing visibility to our ever-changing, colorful landscape of thought leaders, activists, and game-changers.”

Gilchrist, who has been with Pride Media (previously Here Media) for 12 years, was The Advocate's first feminism editor, writing about the intersections of women and LGBTQ equality and pop culture. Prior to that, she was deputy editor of Pride.com and, for nearly a decade, editor in chief of SheWired, Here Media’s site for queer women. In addition to her writing, Gilchrist created and cohosted The Advocate’s Podcast, the brand’s first podcast.

“As a reader of The Advocate since I bought my first copy at the LGBTQ-owned Reader’s Feast Bookstore and Café in Hartford, Conn., circa 1990,” said Gilchrist, “I’ve had firsthand knowledge of its power, importance, and reach. I’ve since dedicated my career to writing for several different LGBTQ media brands and for amplifying queer stories and storytellers. At a time when the relevance of queer media is continually in question, it is my honor to help carry forth The Advocate brand. Although it is a virtual queer space, its existence as a destination for queer people is as important as our Pride festivals, community centers, and remaining clubs and bars.”

Richard Pérez-Feria has been named Out’s new editor in chief. Currently editor in chief and CEO of Saratoga Living, he began his career at Esquire. Early in his career, Pérez-Feria was the founding editor in chief of Poz Magazine. He later was editor in chief at Time Inc.’s People en Español.

Mikelle Street, formerly Out’s senior editor, has been named digital director of the magazine. Street was previously a style editor for Maxim. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, GQ, Esquire, Allure, Vice, Elle and Harper’s.

Additionally, Raine Bascos, creative director of The Advocate and Plus, has been named executive creative director, and Michael Lombardo named associate creative director, for all brands. Out’s former visuals editor, Nic Bloise, has been named photo director while associate editor Desirée Guerrero has become associate editor and interactive art associate.

Neal Broverman was named digital editor in chief of Advocate.com and editor in chief of Plus magazine, the company’s health magazine. Neal previously served as executive editor of The Advocate.

Jacob Anderson-Minshall becomes editor in chief of OutTraveler.com as well as production editor of Out, Plus and The Advocate. A disabled queer transgender editor and writer, Jacob has most recently served as the deputy editor of The Advocate and Plus magazines and has worked with Pride’s branded partnerships team (with clients including Greater Fort Lauderdale, Marriott, and Gilead).

Trudy Ring becomes senior politics editor of The Advocate (she was previously copy chief) and Donald Padgett will become an assistant editor (he was previously assistant to the editor). Raffy Ermac will continue as editor in chief of Pride.com with Taylor Henderson as deputy editor. The Advocate’s senior editor Daniel Reynolds will now have that title across all brands.

“As we move into a new decade and an important election year, I can’t help but be excited by these exceptionally talented editors and artists who are ready to drive the cultural conversation around LGBTQ issues,” said Diane Anderson-Minshall.

“Pride Media is an exciting microcosm of the LGBTQ community: The team is African American, Native American, Asian American, Latinx, and white; men, women, and nonbinary folks; married parents and single moms; religious minorities, Jews, Christians, and atheists; straight allies and PFLAG parents; bisexual, gay, lesbian, queer, transgender, and pansexual; single, married, divorced, swinging, and looking for love. Our youngest is barely out of the teens, our oldest in a septuagenarian. We all know it’s the voices and stories of the people outside our offices who matter most. We aim to elevate them and serve a social mission to amplify LGBTQ voices while entertaining, educating, and challenging our readers, users, and followers.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 21
Issue 12

Blade Foundation awards two fellowships in Washington and Delaware

by Fred Kuhr 

The Blade Foundation, a non-profit arm of the Washington Blade that works to educate young and upcoming LGBTQ journalists and to fund enterprise projects into community topics, announced that it has awarded two $2,000 fellowships to aspiring journalists.

The first is a reporting fellowship focused on topics of interest to the Washington area LGBTQ community. It’s funded by a grant from the D.C. Front Runners Pride Run Foundation, which presented the Foundation with a $2,000 donation last year.

This fellowship was awarded to Michelle Siegel, who is studying multi-platform investigative journalism at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

“I moved to the Washington, D.C., area last year in hope of finding the support system of resources, mentors and fellow LGBTQ journalists that I never had out in rural Michigan, so receiving a Blade Foundation Reporting Fellowship is, quite literally, my dream come true,” Siegel said. “I am grateful to the Blade Foundation and the D.C. Front Runners for making this opportunity available to me, and I am excited to become a better reporter through working with the Blade.”

Siegel started her fellowship this month and will work for 12 weeks mentored by Blade staff.

The second fellowship is the Blade Foundation Steve Elkins Memorial Journalism Fellowship, named in honor of Elkins, a journalist and cofounder of the CAMP Rehoboth LGBT community center, who passed away in March 2018. Elkins served as editor of Letters from CAMP Rehoboth, based in Rehoboth Beach, Del., for many years as well as executive director of the center.

This fellowship covers issues of interest to the LGBTQ community of Delaware for 12 weeks during the summer months. Topics include coverage of legislative and political issues out of Dover; LGBTQ business issues in Wilmington; the summer beach season in Rehoboth and more. Stories are published in the Washington Blade online and print editions. The fellowship is funded by Rehoboth community donations at an annual summer kickoff event in May. This year’s event is slated for May 15. 

The Elkins Memorial fellowship goes to Joshua Keller, a student at Washington University in St. Louis and native of Northern Virginia. His fellowship will commence in late May.

“I feel so honored to receive the Steve Elkins Memorial Fellowship,” Keller said. “I look forward to working with the Blade and Delaware’s LGBTQ community.”

“I can only imagine how excited Steve would be to know the Fellowship named in his honor will continue to support young journalists,” said Murray Archibald, Elkins’ husband and co-founder of CAMP Rehoboth. “I look forward to congratulating Joshua in person, and sharing with him a little of Steve’s passion for his life’s work.”

To donate to the Blade Foundation, go to bladefoundation.org.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 21
Issue 12

GUEST COMMENTARY: LGBTQ media's role in keeping the internet free and uncensored

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

This newspaper you are reading right now (Philadelphia Gay News) most likely had a major effect on your life that you may not even know about. Do you use the web and enjoy how free it is? You can thank this newspaper. Just this week, as I went to a gala to celebrate the ACLU, I was reminded about our fight to keep the internet open for discussion and free speech — a fight that went all the way to the Supreme Court.

It sounds like a big claim, but here’s the background on the case, which most lawyers will know well. In 1998, Congress was getting worried about the freewheeling internet. The net began its move from an interesting invention in 1989 to popular common use just nine years later.  By 2002, almost every part of society was active on the internet, and as a form of free speech, citizens began openly criticizing elected officials. Conservative members also worried, how newspapers like this one — ones which, for example, give safe sex information for LGBTQ people — reached America's youth.

The main conservative argument to limit and censor the internet was called “The Child Online Protection Act.” And the reason for its title was that they claimed that children were encouraged to view pornography. The legislation passed in Congress and President Bill Clinton signed it into law. But think about it: if a person in Alabama objected to their gay child viewing PGN's website, they could use the law to get PGN's website shut down in the entire nation.

The ACLU sued and brought Philadelphia Gay News in as one of the plaintiffs in “Plaintiff vs. President William Clinton and The United States of America," and PGN’s case was simple. Yes, we wanted to reach young people and older people with information that will save their lives, including safe sex information. Soon enough, it reached the Supreme Court.  

Most people don’t get a chance to go to the Supreme Court suing the president and Congress. Sitting there defending this newspaper and freedom of speech was a humbling experience.  

The New York Times editorial showed how PGN’s part in the case was instrumental to winning. And we eventually did.

Next time you’re on the web, thank your local LGBT newspaper, because we kept the internet open and free.

GUEST COMMENTARY
Volume 21
Issue 12

Thursday, February 20, 2020

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

AMBUSH, based in New Orleans, entered its 38th year of publication with its January 14, 2020, issue.

BAY AREA REPORTER, based in San Francisco, entered its 50th year of publication with its January 2, 2020, issue.

FENUXE, based in Atlanta, entered its 11th year of publication with its January 10, 2020, issue.

GAY CITY NEWS, based in New York City, entered its 19th year of publication with its January 2, 2020, issue.

GLOSS, based in San Francisco, entered its 18th year of publication with its January 3, 2020, issue.

GRAB MAGAZINE, based in Chicago, entered its 11th year of publication with its January 7, 2020, issue.

THE LOS ANGELES BLADE entered its fourth year of publication with its January 3, 2020, issue.

OUTPOST, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., entered its 28th year of publication with its January 2020 issue.

PEACH ATL, based in Atlanta, entered its fourth year of publication with its January 8, 2020, issue.

PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS entered its 44th year of publication with its January 3, 2020, issue.

THE RAINBOW TIMES, based in Boston, entered its 13th year of publication with its January 9, 2020, issue.

SOUTH FLORIDA GAY NEWS, based in Wilton Manors, entered its 11th year of publication with its January 1, 2020, issue.

TAGG MAGAZINE, based in Washington, D.C., entered its ninth year of publication with its January/February 2020 issue.

THE WASHINGTON BLADE, based in Washington, D.C., entered its 51st year of publication with its January 3, 2020, issue.

WATERMARK, based in Orlando, Fla, entered its 27th year of publication with its January 9, 2020, issue.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 21
Issue 11

Annual LGBTQ Community Survey seeks partners

by Fred Kuhr

The 14th Annual LGBTQ Community Survey is starting next month, and Community Marketing & Insights (CMI) is looking for community partners. 

CMI is an LGBTQ market research company founded in 1992 and based in Corte Madera, Calif. Every year starting in March, CMI partners with 200-plus LGBTQ media, non-profits, and events from around the world to conduct the annual LGBTQ Community Survey. 
CMI's Thomas Roth

“Through partnerships, we ensure that the diversity of the community is represented in the results,” said Thomas Roth, CMI president. “We’ve generated the participation of as many as 45,000 LGBTQ citizens from around the world.”

Survey topics include but are not limited to social/political issues, health issues, personal finance, consumer products, entertainment, and media consumption.

“As a partner, we ask you to promote the survey to your readers and members through your website, email newsletter, print ads, social media, etc. Partner organization names are listed in the survey and the final report,” said Roth. “And if you are able to achieve 200-plus completes, you will also receive a ‘frequency report’ of your readers/members, which is very useful in media/sponsorship kit development.”

Todd Evans, president and chief executive officer of the LGBTQ ad placement company Rivendell Media (which also publishes Press Pass Q), highly recommends that publications participate as community partners.

In addition to providing overall LGBTQ market-specific data, the survey also gives publication-specific data to participating media outlets. CMI “is helping to promote the LGBTQ market," said Evans.

“While it is free to participate, it is not without some energy to get the proper number of responses so that your own sales team gets your very own survey to use,” said Evans. For example, most spirits advertising requires independent proof of age and the CMI survey meets those requirements, he noted.

“I remember the days when it cost $100,000 for a group or $10,000 per title, plus a small fortune inserting and providing prizes, to get this same information,” said Evans. “So it really is amazing how far things have come from the old days in LGBTQ media.”

For more information about the partnership, to review last year's survey results and/or to sign up to participate, use the link

TOP STORY
Volume 21
Issue 11

New year, new biweekly Between The Lines

by Joe Siegel

Michigan’s LGBTQ weekly Between the Lines (BTL) has a new format and now publishes on a biweekly basis. Publishers Jan Stevenson and Susan Horowitz announced the changes in a December 18 editorial.

“As some of you may have already noticed, for some time now our editors and writers have been shifting BTL’s editorial design and focus to be more feature-oriented,” Stevenson and Horowitz wrote. “Our website, pridesource.com, has increasingly been our outlet for breaking news, events, resource listings, contests and more. In 2020 we will build on this trend, continuing to enhance our online presence and functionality while using the biweekly print edition of Between The Lines for longer, more in-depth looks at issues, people and projects that are the most important and interesting to our LGBTQ community.”

Jan Stevenson and Susan Horowitz (l-r)
Horowitz said the decision to go biweekly had nothing to do with the paper’s circulation figures, which have grown over the past several years.

“We have about 400 active advertisers in our print products — BTL and our annual Pride Magazine,” Horowitz explained. “Only a small handful were advertising every week — most were either already biweekly, monthly or on schedules unique to them. We have seen no decrease in print revenues on the biweekly schedule — in fact we are up over last year so far. Of course, our print bills and distribution expenses are cut in half, which we anticipate allowing us to put more resources into our website.”

Horowitz noted the change in format was necessitated by current trends in media.

“These days with such an accelerated news cycle, we are publishing stories and event announcements online daily — and we are choosing from that inventory when planning our print editions,” Horowitz said. “We are expanding those print stories into longer features and analysis. It just makes more sense given the changes in the way people receive their news.”

Horowitz said another reason for the change is the fact that almost all of Between the Lines’ advertisers are opting for a blend of print and digital advertising.

“We are committing to focus more resources on the digital products we offer,” Horowitz added, “and the biweekly print schedule allows us the time and money to build new features such as video, podcasts [and] live streaming that are especially interesting to our readers online.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 21
Issue 11

San Diego paper’s new owner rebrands as countywide

by Fred Kuhr

Late last year, Gay San Diego was bought by Sacramento, Calif., nightclub owner and magazine publisher Terry Sidie. The newspaper was then rebranded as LGBTQ San Diego County News.

Terry Sidie
Sidie bought the newspaper from publisher David Mannis, who was public about his want to retire and sell his remaining publishing interest. Earlier in 2019, he sold general readership publications San Diego Uptown News, San Diego Downtown News, Mission Times Courier, La Mesa Courier and the since-shuttered Mission Valley News to the San Diego Community Newspaper Group (SDCNG), led by Julie Main, who also happens to be Mannis’ ex-wife. (They divorced in 2002.)

“It has been an honor to publish Gay San Diego for the past decade,” Mannis wrote in a letter to readers. “I am proud to have been able to offer a platform for the LGBT community which has embraced us, and me. [But] it is now time to pass the torch.”

Under new ownership now, LGBTQ San Diego County News launched in October of last year with the tag line, “The paper of record for the community.” Longtime columnist Nicole Murray-Ramirez was promoted to associate publisher. Other staff remained in place, including editor Albert H. Fulcher.

In his own note to readers, Fulcher welcomed the changes. “There are many things I’m excited about. First, a larger staff so that we may bring more news to your local newsstand or electronic device. I believe that the best news coverage comes from the diversity of the team that is bringing the news to you. … As we get the team together, you will see more breaking news, investigative news, a larger span of coverage and I see more videos and podcasts in this newspaper’s future.”

Murray-Ramirez, in an interview with the San Diego Union Tribune, said that the name change reflects “the broader reach of the publication.” Murray-Ramirez also noted that the newspaper will develop a strong editorial voice, taking stands on issues. “We are going to take it to the next level.”

Fulcher noted that the newspaper is moving to become a non-profit “that will not only be able to serve the community with information, but to also support our local community and its organizations financially. This is a dream come true in my opinion and I believe wholeheartedly this is a great leap in other ways that we can continue to serve the community.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 21
Issue 11

Publications mark Black History Month

by Joe Siegel

LGBTQ publications are celebrating Black History Month with special features on civil rights activists, entertainers, and other historic figures. The Los Angeles Blade, for one, ran a story on February 6 about Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pardoning of gay civil rights pioneer Bayard Rustin.

Though President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Rustin the Medal of Freedom in 2013, the gay civil rights icon still had the stain of a 1953 ‘morals charge’ arrest in Pasadena on his lifetime of achievement,” wrote Karen Ocamb, news editor of the Los Angeles Blade. “Rustin’s pardon launches a new clemency initiative for people who were prosecuted in California for being gay.”

At Philadelphia Gay News, “We are doing a feature on [blues singer] Bessie Smith,” said editor Jess Bryant. “I also have op-eds lined up from various folks of color in the community. This week's will be from Larry Benjamin, who is in communications at Mazzoni, an LGBT health clinic.” PGN will also be covering an event from a “Black transmasculine group celebrating Blackness.”

Tagg Magazine, based in Washington, D.C., plans to run profiles and stories related to Queer Black History, said Editor Eboné Bell. One story profiles women including poet and journalist Alice Dunbar-Nelson, novelist Alice Walker, writer Audre Lorde, and Barbara Jordan, the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

South Florida Gay News, based in Wilton Manors, ran a feature on National Black HIV Awareness Day. “Now in its 20th year, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is an opportunity to increase HIV education, testing, community involvement, and treatment among black communities,” SFGN reported. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African Americans make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, but 44 percent of new HIV diagnoses.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 21
Issue 11

GUEST COMMENTARY: Blade reporter held by ICE needs to be freed

by Kevin Naff
(Kevin Naff is editor of the Washington Blade. This editorial originally appeared in the newspaper’s January 17, 2020, issue and is reprinted here with permission.)

Yariel Valdés González, a Washington Blade contributing writer from Cuba, is enduring inhumane treatment while in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in Louisiana.

Valdés, a professional journalist who works as a freelancer for the Blade, is seeking asylum based on the very real persecution he has suffered at the hands of the Cuban government. An asylum official who interviewed Valdés at the Tallahatchie County Correctional Center in Tutwiler, Miss., on March 28, 2019, determined he had a “credible fear of persecution or torture” in Cuba. His family in Cuba continues to receive death threats from government officials because of his work with “media outlets of the enemy.”

Early last year, the Cuban government ramped up its persecution of journalists, even detaining Blade
Yariel Valdés González (Photo by Michael K. Lavers)
International News Editor Michael Lavers at the airport before denying him entry and sending him back to Miami. The State Department’s Human Rights Report notes Cuba’s persecution of journalists. But those seeking refuge in the United States are finding that under President Trump, they not only won’t be welcomed, they may be imprisoned.

In a 2019 cover story for the Blade, Valdés described the horrific conditions of his confinement at the Bossier Parish Medium Security Facility in Plain Dealing, La. Other Cuban asylum seekers at Bossier — some who have been held for nearly a year — greeted him with, “Welcome to hell.”

Detainees are treated like prison inmates. And remember: Seeking asylum is not illegal. Valdés has followed the legal process and his claims of persecution and fears of torture back home have already been deemed credible by the government. Yet he describes a harrowing life behind bars in which each day is a struggle to survive.

In his own words: “Each day inside of it is a constant struggle for survival that takes a huge toll on my physical, psychological and above all emotional capacities. More than 300 migrants live in four dorms in cramped conditions with intense cold and zero privacy. … My personal space is reduced to a narrow metal bed that is bolted to the floor, a drawer for my things and a thin mattress that barely manages to keep my spine separated from the metal, which sometimes causes back pain. The most painful thing, however, is the way the officers treat us.”

He reports the guards routinely disconnect the microwave, the television and deny detainees ice. When they complain, guards tell them, “This is not your country.”

The day begins at 5 a.m. with a lineup followed by breakfast. Meals are insufficient and dinner is at 4 p.m. leading to hunger pains by bedtime. Soup is used as currency among detainees. Medical services are inadequate or non-existent. As one detainee put it, “One who gets sick is put in punishment cells, isolated and alone, which psychologically affects us. People sometimes don’t say they don’t feel well because they are afraid they will be sent to the ‘well.’ In extreme cases they bring you to a hospital with your feet, hands and waist shackled and they keep you tied to the bed, still under guard. I prefer to suffer before being hospitalized like that.”

This is what the government is doing in our name and with our tax dollars: treating asylum seekers who are fleeing violence and persecution as criminals.

Judge Timothy Cole on Sept. 18, 2019, granted asylum to Valdés, but weeks later ICE appealed that decision and kept him in custody. Just last week, ICE transferred him and more than 30 other detainees from Bossier to the River Correctional Center in Ferriday, La. LaSalle Corrections, a private company, operates the facility where Valdés is now held. His case is now before the Board of Immigration Appeals, which is overseen by the Justice Department.

It’s now been four months since a judge deemed Valdés worthy of asylum here. The stories of these asylum seekers are harrowing and I urge our audience to read them and to demand reform. There are several LGBTQ and other advocacy groups that could help, including the Human Rights Campaign, Immigration Equality, the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association and the Southern Poverty Law Center. I urge them to review this case, add their voices to the fight and assist us and his lawyer in freeing Yariel.

In his own words: “I hope that I can continue my career as a journalist from here and continue the fight for a more democratic Cuba for those 11 million Cubans who have resisted and resist this dictatorial regime that has been in power for six decades.”

GUEST COMMENTARY
Volume 21
Issue 11