Thursday, July 16, 2020

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

(What's happening at your publication? Let us know. Email editor Fred Kuhr at editor@presspassq.com)
ADELANTE, based in Los Angeles, entered its 24th year of publication with  its June 2020 issue.

AMBUSH, based in New Orleans, launched its AMBUSH RADIO PODCAST in May 2020. The show is hosted by GEORGE BEVAN JR. A new episode will be released every other Tuesday. It is available on podcasting services like iTunes and Spotify or by subscribing at http://www.ambushmag.com/podcast/

Mark S. King
MARK S. KING, creator of the video blog MY FABULOUS DISEASE, is the recipient of the 2020 SARAH PETTIT Memorial Award for LGBTQ Journalist of the Year from NLGJA: THE ASSOCIATION OF LGBTQ JOURNALISTS. He also won the Excellence in Blogging Award. OSCAR LOPEZ, the Mexico-based LGBTQ correspondent for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was named Journalist of the Year. The only LGBTQ media outlet to score an honor — PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS — won in the category of Excellence in Writing, Non-Daily for an article written by LAURA SMYTHE.

LAVENDER MAGAZINE, based in Minneapolis, celebrated its 25th anniversary in its June 4, 2020, issue.

METROSOURCE, based in Long Beach, Calif. and distributed in Los Angeles and New York, celebrated its 30th anniversary by launching METROSOURCE MINIS, a short form audio and video podcast, hosted by ALEXANDER RODRIGUEZ. The magazine also announced it is under new ownership by BENT SHARE ENTERTAINMENT LLC, making it once again 100% LGBTQ owned and operated.

RAGE MONTHLY, based in San Diego, entered its 14th year of publication with its June 2020 issue.

WIREMAG, based in Miami, announced that for the duration of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the every-other-week publication will only appear in print once per month, while also appearing digitally once per month, because of a decrease in advertising revenue.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 22
Issue 4

Revenues down, but not out, with Pride going virtual this year

by Joe Siegel

The novel coronavirus pandemic forced many LGBTQ organizations to be creative in producing their Pride celebrations this year. And community media stepped up in their own way to fill the void left from the absence of traditional festivals and parades.

“Our Pride celebration was moved to July and has since announced that it would be virtual,” said Leo Cusimano, publisher of the Dallas Voice. “We did have a bigger issue on June 5, and our large National Pride issue on June 26 was 56 pages. So the revenue has diminished in the wake of COVID-19 and business closures.”

Dallas Voice also created its own virtual Pride celebration called “Dallas Voice PRIDE Party Online! A digital Pride experience.”

“This virtual event was scheduled for Sunday, June 28, as a 90-minute show with local and national celebrities making an appearance,” Cusimano noted. “The program was very successful and garnered support from six sponsors.”

New York’s Gay City News (GCN) has written about several of the city’s major virtual Pride events — Brooklyn Pride, Queens Pride, and NYC Pride — and hosted a webinar on June 30 to discuss the impact of COVID on nonprofits in the community, in terms of delivering services, increased demand for services, and fundraising and revenue streams.

“Our Pride revenues were down this month, but overall I thought we did better than I feared,” said Paul Schindler, GCN editor in chief and associate publisher. “Our Pride issue was 72 pages this year, … versus over 100 in recent years. Our webinar … will recoup a decent portion of [the] shortfall versus recent years.”

Instead of the traditional Pride parade, San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter (BAR) featured coverage of a protest march held in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, called “The People's March and Rally: Unite to Fight.”

That protest — one of three events (the others were a protest titled “Pride is a Riot” and a rally in the Fillmore district honoring Black trans people) — was planned to follow the route of the first "gay-in" in 1970, which later grew to become the San Francisco Pride parade, reported BAR.

“Our June 25 issue was our Pride issue, though abbreviated from past years,” said Cynthia Laird, BAR news editor. “We did not have a separate section, but included Pride-related stories throughout. The issue was 40 pages total. News section was 31 pages, the remainder was Arts and Culture.”

Publisher Michael Yamashita added, “Financially the BAR did better than expected considering the state of the economy, although it's no comparison to last year. Thankfully many of our advertisers honored their ad reservations for our Pride issue, most of which were reserved before the shutdown in March. And that we were able to make some sales is a hopeful sign.”

TOP STORY
Volume 22
Issue 4

LGBTQ media reports on, and advocates for, Black lives

by Joe Siegel

Pride events were cancelled, downscaled or moved online this year, but many Black Lives Matter protests popped up in their place. And with an understanding of intersectionality, LGBTQ media has been busy covering these events.

New York’s Gay City News (GCN), for one, has been providing extensive reporting on Black Lives Matter and Black Trans Lives Matter protests in the city, with stories about 10 separate events.

On June 28, the paper covered the Reclaim Pride Marches in Support of Black Lives Matter and Against Police Brutality on the day that would normally have the LGBTQ Pride March (the Pride March this year was a virtual event to be aired on the local ABC affiliate). GCN also reported on the Juneteenth Dyke March in Support of Black Lives.

“We have worked hard over the years to report on New York's community with due respect to its amazing racial and ethnic diversity and geographical sprawl,” said Paul Schindler, GCN’s editor in chief and associate publisher. “Reporting on the community in the Bronx, for example, typically focuses on communities of color.”

Schindler noted that “a focus on Black lives and intersectionality is not new, and increasingly, politically active LGBTQ people and elected office holders who are LGBTQ come from communities of color. Bronx Councilmember Ritchie Torres who is the apparent winner of a U.S. House primary; Mondaire Jones, a gay Black man who won a House primary in the city's northern suburbs; Jabari Brisport, a gay Black man who won a Brooklyn State Senate primary; and Brooklyn Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, who has been in office since 2014, are a few examples.”

Schindler added, “The Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd and the demonstrations since then have focused particular attention on issues facing communities of color and much of our news coverage over the past three issues has explored that and the many demonstrations that have taken place across New York City”

The Dallas Voice has also had ongoing coverage of the local protests. “We have had at least two covers focused on the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ Pride,” said publisher Leo Cusimano. “And Dallas Voice as a company has signed onto letters in support of Black Lives Matter and calling for racism to be addressed in a substantial way. While I don't think our approach to intersectionality and issues of racial equality and justice has changed — our stance on these things remains the same — we have in the last month highlighted the importance of these issues more starkly.”

Meanwhile, San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter has been covering the resurgence of Black Lives Matter via several recent protests.

“I have been publishing op-eds by Black writers and writers of color — including a Pride essay this week — and we have editorialized on racism and the police, in one case specifically urging the San Francisco Police Department to move quickly to change its outdated dress codes after a non-binary officer was sent home for wearing earrings after kneeling in support of Black Lives Matter in front of a police station where marchers had gathered,” said BAR news editor Cynthia Laird.

“I would say that our news staff is more attuned to racial issues as they relate to the queer community, and that we're working on covering those consistently,” Laird added. “For example, while San Francisco's official Trans March is virtual this year, … Black trans people and others held a march in the Tenderloin — home of the city's Transgender Cultural District — and we did pre- and post-coverage.”

In Denver, Out Front Magazine published a two-page spread in its June 17 Pride issue devoted to staff members standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, alongside a rainbow BLM logo.

“My hearth is broken, but I believe we can take this momentum and do something good,” wrote editor Addison Herron-Wheeler. “The first Pride was a protest, and this year, we’re just getting back to our roots. Out Front stands with Black Lives Matter and will continue to fight for equality all year long.”

The Washington Blade has published numerous columns and stories, including one on June 30 about LGBTQ events held in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Most notable was an event held in Richmond, Va., which served as capital of the Confederacy, hosted by Diversity Richmond. The June 27 event, called “Stonewall Rising: LGBTQ March for Black Lives,” commemorated the work begun by transgender activists of color Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 22
Issue 4

Trump allies target Blade political reporter

by Fred Kuhr

Anti-LGBTQ Trump supporters recently set their sights on Washington Blade political reporter Chris Johnson.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title VII applies to sexual orientation and gender identity. In other words, it is now illegal to fire someone just because they are LGBTQ. A month prior, in anticipation of the decision, Johnson — who is a member of the White House press corps — challenged current White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on her opposition to marriage equality as well as the administration’s views on the Supreme Court case.

Chris Johnson (Photo by Michael Key)
“McEnany followed the lead of her three immediate predecessors in the job, avoiding the question and acting exasperated in the process,” reported Blade editor Kevin Naff. “[Then] after the briefing, Trump’s toadies in the right-wing twitterverse and blogosphere jumped into action, attacking Johnson with personal insults and anti-gay slurs. The instantaneous attacks came by the hundreds.”

Names deployed in attacking Johnson included “Chrissy,” “light in the loafers,” “gaystapo clown,” and “faggot.”

“This was no coincidence,” wrote Naff. “Trump has an army of mindless sycophants ready to defend him from any hint of challenge or criticism. From the big guns like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh to the bloggers at Breitbart and RedState and many more lesser-known figures, Trump deploys them to trash, threaten and intimidate anyone in the media deemed critical of his administration.”

Naff made the connection between the attacks on Johnson and Trump’s often-stated position that the press is “the enemy of the people.”

“Make no mistake,” Naff noted, “we have a White House that openly threatens reporters, disdains the First Amendment, and emboldens its supporters to insult and intimidate journalists at outlets large and small.”

Naff praised Johnson, who he called “a pro,” adding that all those working in LGBTQ media “have a pretty thick skin.”

“Kudos to Johnson and the other members of the White House press corps, who are working at personal risk to merely ask questions of this corrupt administration,” he added.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 22
Issue 4

Guest Commentary: The first Pride was a riot

by Lourdes Zavaleta
(Lourdes Zavaleta is the managing editor of OutSmart Magazine, based in Houston. Her editorial appeared in the June 2020 issue of the magazine and is reprinted here with permission.)

June is Pride Month, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out the sad irony of commemorating the Stonewall Riots in New York City while the same kind of civil-rights protests are being seen nationwide in response to the senseless killings of George Floyd and so many other Black Americans.
Lourdes Zavaleta

Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was handcuffed and then murdered outside of a grocery store by Minneapolis police on May 25. Two weeks earlier in Louisville, Ky., Breonna Taylor, a Black woman, was asleep in her bed when police officers broke in and shot her to death. In February, Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, was jogging in an upscale rural Georgia neighborhood when he was ambushed and murdered by neighborhood vigilantes. The list goes on.

These incidents show a horrifying pattern of innocent Americans being brutalized because of the racial tensions that have existed in America for centuries. We cannot allow these injustices to occur any longer. It is time to expose and condemn racism and the white-supremacist (and anti-LGBTQ) organizations that traffic in hatred and lies.

The LGBTQ community understands all too well the need to mobilize to resist police brutality. It is in our history. Each year, our Pride celebrations commemorate the breakthrough moment in the summer of 1969 when three LGBTQ women of color — Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Storme DeLaverie — kicked off the movement and pushed us to declare that we would no longer tolerate abuse from corrupt police officers. We had decided that it was time to live openly and authentically in a country that routinely demonized its LGBTQ citizens.

OutSmart stands in full solidarity with the Black community in the fight against this systemic oppression. We call on all members of the LGBTQ community to use whatever privilege they have been afforded in the fight for justice.

We can all promote racial justice by signing ballot-initiative petitions, donating to fundraisers for progressive candidates and their causes, sharing information and networking opportunities online, staying informed, voting, protesting, and more. A helpful resource list is found on the Black Lives Matter organization’s website at blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/.

Finally, we want to remind you to take a minute to send positive thoughts to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and every victim of police brutality and racism. And don’t forget to check on your own friends and family who are grieving over these heartbreaking murders.

Black Lives Matter. Happy Pride.

GUEST COMMENTARY
Volume 22
Issue 4

Guest Commentary: Support exists for local news, but we need help

by the Bay Area Reporter
(The following editorial appeared in the May 13, 2020, edition of the Bay Area Reporter, based in San Francisco. It is reprinted here with permission.)

As the Bay Area Reporter forges ahead with its crowdfunding campaign to keep the newspaper operating during these difficult times, it was heartening to read a recent Gallup research paper that stated Americans agree that local news outlets should receive COVID-19 relief. While most of those surveyed did not rate federal financial support for local news as a top priority — only 9 percent — as research author Jeffrey M. Lyons pointed out, it's a hopeful sign indeed that any percentage of Americans is willing to support the idea of some sort of government funding.

Lyons' report is based on a recent Gallup/Knight Foundation survey from internet interviews conducted April 14-20, with a random sample of 1,693 adults, ages 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia who are members of Gallup's panel.

Photo by Cynthia Laird
According to the report, about half of Americans say they are very (14 percent) or moderately (35 percent) concerned that news organizations in their local area will be harmed by the financial downturn. "Concern is greater among those who pay a great deal of attention to local news, who currently subscribe to a local news source, who indicate a strong attachment to their local community, and who have a positive opinion of the news media, generally," the report states.

But the number of unemployed Americans makes it unlikely that many can afford to pay for local news gathering. Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed say they currently subscribe to, donate to, or otherwise personally pay for local news. Among those who do not, just 13 percent say they are likely to pay for local news in some fashion in the coming year, with only 2 percent saying they are "very likely" to do so.

As a free weekly newspaper, the BAR does not currently rely on reader subscriptions, nor do we have a paywall on our website. Our primary source of revenue comes from advertising, which has cratered during the coronavirus pandemic because so many businesses are closed. That is why we started the Indiegogo campaign over a month ago, and why we still need assistance from you.

As we reported last week, our campaign has been extended because an anonymous donor has pledged to pay for transaction fees if we achieve our goal and to match contributions beyond it (until June 1). So the amount raised above $30,000 will be doubled to support journalism at San Francisco's independently owned, legacy LGBTQ+ community news source. As of this writing, we've raised just over $25,000, or 83 percent of our goal. Donations seem to have tapered off, and we really need your support to cross the finish line.

So far, federal relief for the BAR from the Paycheck Protection Program is in process but has not yet materialized, and we did not receive one of the Facebook journalism grants that the social media company announced last week. We are waiting for answers to our applications for city programs and other grants, but the situation for us at this point is grim.

The cancellation of San Francisco Pride's in-person parade and festival meant that we wouldn't have a huge Pride edition, our biggest issue of the year that typically draws in advertisers who want to let our readers know they support the LGBTQ community. But we'll need the support of potential advertisers beyond just LGBTQ Pride Month. And we're extremely grateful to those advertisers who continue to support us.

"The coronavirus situation provided the local news sector with an opportunity to convince the public of the vital role it can play in shepherding them through a crisis, something Americans largely acknowledge," the Gallup report states. Whether it's a mainstream paper like the San Francisco Chronicle or a scrappy weekly like the BAR, now more than ever people are depending on local news outlets. We're publishing articles about how the public health crisis affects the LGBTQ community in myriad ways — scientific advances, nonprofit operations, available services, even hooking up. But we can only continue to do that if we continue to raise capital.

Just about every sector of the economy is in dire straits, so we are especially thankful for the hundreds of people who have already contributed to our campaign. But honestly, we need more help. To donate, go to https://bit.ly/3cmN5SI

Please help our freelancers and staff, and keep the BAR going in these tough times. For info, visit our IndieGoGo campaign.

GUEST COMMENTARY
Volume 22
Issue 4

Pressing Questions: Unite Seattle Magazine of Seattle, Wash.

Interview with Publisher and Editor at Large Mike Montgomery
by Joe Siegel

Year founded: 2018

Staff size and breakdown: Three editors, 12 contributors, one production designer, four photographers, and three sales representatives

Physical dimensions: 8.5” x 10" glossy

Average page count: 64

Print run: 1,500-3,000 copies

***** 

PPQ: What feature or features of Unite Seattle Magazine have been the most popular
with readers?

Publisher and Editor at Large Mike Montgomery: Themed cover stories on politicians and local celebrities. Also, our fashion layouts are popular. 

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

Montgomery: Unite was created by Joey Amato for Unite Nashville and Unite Indianapolis. I wanted to license that name because I believe in collaboration and uniting the community.

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

Montgomery: Lack of full-time sales staff. But distribution has increased. 

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Unite Seattle facing now? 

Montgomery: Lack of advertisers that are open for business. 

PPQ: How has Unite Seattle changed since it was first launched?

Mike Montgomery
Montgomery: We have gotten bigger in size with a professional design. We are also available in local grocery stores, bookstores, newsstands, and co-ops. We are the first locally-owned LGBT publication to be sold exclusively in retail and by subscription. 

PPQ: What one change would you like to make? 

Montgomery: I’d like to expand our online presence.

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

Montgomery: 3.

PPQ: Do you see yourself as an 'activist journalist'? If so, in what
way? 

Montgomery: I am a traditional journalist, always interested in reinventing print and all media. 

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

Montgomery: 1) The mayor of Seattle, Jenny Durkan, told me that Unite Seattle is needed in this community. 2) Some people objecting to our choice of Person of the Year, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. She is a far-left Democrat with a soft leaning towards socialism. That was shocking coming from a progressive area. 

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

Montgomery: Do your homework. Create a niche that people will realize the importance from the get-go.

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 22
Issue 4