Tuesday, August 18, 2020


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

BALTIMORE OUTLOUD entered its 28th year of publication with its June 5, 2020, issue.

BAY WINDOWS, based in Boston, entered its 38th year of publication with its July 30, 2020, issue.

DAVID CARTER, historian and activist who authored 2004’s seminal “Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked The Gay Revolution,” died May 1, 2020, in his Manhattan home of a likely heart attack. He was 67.

ERIC FERRERO has been appointed executive director of the FUND FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM, based in Washington, D.C. He previously worked at the Open Society Foundations, Amnesty International USA and the American Civil Liberties Union.

RICK KARLIN, a native Chicagoan who moved to Fort Lauderdale with husband and fellow journalist GREGG SHAPIRO, has published his autobiography, “Paper Cuts: My Life in Chicago’s Volatile LGBTQ Press,” which chronicles his time working in that city’s LGBTQ media, including GAYLIFE, GAY CHICAGO MAGAZINE, NIGHTLINES, CHICAGO FREE PRESS, CHICAGO PRIDE and BOI MAGAZINE.

JIM PROVENZANO, an editor at San Francisco’s BAY AREA REPORTER and a LAMBDA LITERARY award-winning author, has written his seventh novel, “Finding Tulsa,” which will be published in September 2020 by PALM DRIVE PUBLISHING.

QLIFE, based in Las Vegas, announced that after 10 months without a print edition, it will continue to publish again with a new look and a redesigned website with a national focus. The publication also announced new “elastic advertising,” giving businesses more flexibility in advertising choices.

SEATTLE GAY NEWS has launched a GOFUNDME campaign to help cover operating expenses in light of

the coronavirus lockdown and the subsequent loss in advertising revenue. The campaign can be accessed at https://ca.gofundme.com/f/seattle-gay-news-needs-your-support-now

SEAN STRUB, founder of POZ MAGAZINE, is the subject of the new documentary “My Friend, The Mayor: Small-Town Politics in the Age of Trump,” now available on Amazon Prime. The documentary from Dutch journalist and filmmaker MAX WESTERMAN focuses on Strub’s for mayor of a small county seat in Pennsylvania.

JEREMY WILLIAMS has been promoted to the role of editor in chief at Orlando, Fla.-based WATERMARK. Previously, he served as the newspaper’s central Florida bureau chief. He takes the reins from publisher Rick Claggett, who had been serving as acting editor.


Volume 22

Issue 5

Publications catering to travellers impacted by lack of travel during lockdown

by Joe Siegel

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on the travel industry in the over the past five months. For LGBTQ publications that focus heavily on travel and leisure, the impact has been dramatic.

Florida, including gay tourism hotspots like Key West and South Beach, has been especially hard hit by the pandemic, with over 500,000 cases statewide.

Throughout the Florida Keys, officials are requiring facial coverings to be worn by everyone in business establishments and other public settings. Facial coverings are also required to be worn outdoors in the Florida Keys when social distancing of six feet or more is not possible. In Key West, masks are required everywhere outside a residence, regardless of whether social distancing is maintained.

“We continued to publish every month,” Chamberlain said. “I felt it was important to keep up some normality during the heart of it, plus it made sure my contributors had some sort of income coming in.”

Despite that, “We are a much leaner magazine than we were before this started (regarding page count), but some advertisers [have] returned,” Chamberlain added. “I offer my advertisers a ‘rate for life’ guarantee, meaning that their rates will never increase as long as they continually advertise. For the pandemic, I did allow people to suspend their advertising without risk to their rates. A few people did take advantage of that. Those that advertised all along will be getting a free month in an upcoming issue as a thank-you.”

Despite the setbacks, Chamberlain remains optimistic about the future. “We are slowly building back up and I'm confident that we will be back to the old levels of advertising, hopefully by the end of the year.”

HotSpots, based in Fort Lauderdale suburb Oakland Park, Fla., returned to publishing its print edition on June 18, after three months of being online-only due to the pandemic. 

“We made a conscious decision to go digital only as many businesses were closed and our distribution network was limited to just outdoor boxes,” according to publisher Peter Clark. But since many of the publication’s advertisers have reopened, “We will start by printing a monthly edition.” The weekly edition will continue to be published online.

Connextions Magazine, which bills itself as “The Travel Magazine for the LGBTQ community,” has had to cut back on content simply because its writers have not been able to travel due to coronavirus restrictions, said Manny Velasquez-Paredes, editor in chief of the Long Island, N.Y.-based publication.

“In addition, people are not in the frame of mind to want to read much about traveling because we can't do it and not sure when we will,” Velasquez-Paredes added. “However, as trailblazers, the LGBTQ community usually are the first ones who will try something new, therefore, we will be traveling before the rest of the world.”

Virtual Connextions is the publication’s talk show and podcast, where the editorial staff sits down with visitor and convention bureaus, tourism boards, and LGBTQ publicists to discuss their locations and venues. That has been able to flourish during the lockdown.

“They're fun short videos and they have been received very well. I do believe people are looking for distractions. So our videos are a way to escape our current reality,” Velasquez-Paredes said. “Luckily for us, as a digital magazine, we quickly switched to Virtual Connextions, which allowed us to revisit places in a virtual setting.”

Arts and lifestyle publications have been impacted as well. “Everything you can imagine has happened,” said Jay Jones, publisher of Rage Monthly in San Diego. “However, we are now publishing the monthly editions online until businesses and theater and entertainment venues reopen.”

Mikkel Hyldebrandt, editorial director of Goliath Atlanta, admitted that publishing a lifestyle magazine “in the midst of all this may seem unfitting.” But, as he wrote in its Summer 2020 issue, “there are three main reasons for why we should publish, and why it is crucial right now.”

First of all, he wrote, “at the onset of the pandemic, we weren’t even sure if we would be able to put this publication together for you. … But with federal and relief systems in place and a community that has bounced back in an effort to resume business in a new normal, I am grateful that Goliath continues to publish with no interruption to our editorial calendar.”

Secondly, “Goliath provides an appreciated perspective on the world we inhabit,” wrote Hyldebrandt. And thirdly, such lifestyle publications “offer you  a much-needed mental break from the weight of the world.

Volume 22

Issue 5

NLGJA convention will be virtual for first time

by Joe Siegel

The 2020 convention of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists will be held virtually due to the restrictions around the novel coronavirus pandemic. This will be the group’s first virtual gathering in its 30-year history.

This year’s event, which will run a little later in the year than usual (October 23-25), will not be too different from past conventions, according to Adam Pawlus, the group’s executive director.

“Hosting an entirely online convention allows us to reach people who may have otherwise been unable to come to the convention, and we have aimed to make it as affordable as possible,” Pawlus said.

“We will offer more than 30 breakout sessions and several plenary sessions throughout the weekend, which

NLGJA's Adam Pawlus

will offer attendees skill-building opportunities and a chance to learn more about a variety of topics,” Pawlus added. “A full agenda will be announced soon. We encourage all of our attendees to take full advantage of the opportunities presented with the online platform.”

Pawlus said there will be “a variety of structured networking opportunities each day, but the online platform allows attendees to connect directly with other attendees, as well as our sponsors and exhibitors throughout the weekend.”

This year's sponsors will include Comcast NBCUniversal, CBS News, Knight Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, Democracy Fund and Prudential Financial.

Last year’s convention, which was held in Chicago, attracted 400 people.

In anticipation of this year’s convention, this month NLGJA announced its 2020 scholarship award recipients.

Ogonna Ononye is the recipient of the 2020 Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship Award. Ononye is a graduate student at Maryland Institute College of Art studying graphic design. She plans to pursue a career in multimedia journalism and visual communication design.

Leo Baudhuin is the recipient of the 2020 Steve Mason Sports Media Scholarship Award. They are a sophomore at the University of Oregon. They have been covering their hometown women's professional soccer team, the Portland Thorns, and the NWSL for the past two summers, and they hope to continue to do so going forward.

The recipients of the 2020 Facebook Journalism Project Scholarship Awards are Katie Anastas, Jacob deCastro, Olivia Muse, Laura Scudder and Irene Vázquez. Anastas is a graduate student at the Columbia University School of Journalism, deCastro is a senior at Indiana University studying journalism, Muse is a graduate student at the Columbia University School of Journalism studying journalism with a concentration in documentary filmmaking, Scudder is a third-year student at George Mason University studying communications, and Vázquez is a senior at Yale University studying Ethnicity, Race, and Migration as well as English.

Registration is available to members for $150, and available to non-members for $250. Students who are members receive a complimentary registration, and students who are not members are able to register for $25. There are also some discounts available to members who may be experiencing financial hardship. Additional registration info can be found at www.nlgja.org/2020/registration

Volume 22

Issue 5

Seattle Gay News pays tribute to longtime leader George Bakan

by Fred Kuhr

George Bakan was the longtime publisher of Seattle Gay News (SGN). But he was also described as an activist, civil rights leader and pioneer, pillar of the community, father, mentor and friend. In fact, he was such a giant in Seattle’s LGBTQ community that SGN dedicated two issues to memorializing the man who had led the publication since 1983.

As has been reported, Bakan died at his desk on a Sunday evening — June 7, 2020 — while working on the newspaper. He was 78 year old.

The newspaper’s June 12, 2020, issue featured a front-page banner stating “In Memory of George Bakan,” with a large photo from 2011 at a local bar as he celebrated the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, giving a thumbs-up with a huge grin on his face.

Photographer Nate Gowdy noted, “I’d hopped onto the bar for an angle of the jubilant crowd in the room, only to realize the happiness on George’s face said it all.”

Also on the front page was a tribute by Sara Toce, publisher of The Seattle Lesbian, another publication in the city. “A pioneer in the LGBTQ+, HIV and AIDS communities, Bakan was beloved by many who were influenced by his natural wit and personality” Toce wrote.

The issue also included tributes from Justin Carder of Capitol Hill Seattle, the Greater Seattle Business Association and the Seattle Collegian.

SGN’s June 26 issue, also its Pride issue, ran a front-page banner “Remembering George” along with a photo of a painting of a young Bakan entitled, “Portrait of the Activist as a Young Man,” by Virginia Newman. The portrait shows him — Rudolph George Bakan — at age 18 in 1959.

In this issue, more tributes were printed, including one from Gaysha Starr Olympia 29, The Empress of Good Fortune and the First Asian Pacific Islander Empress of Seattle. “George, to all of us in Washington’s LGBTQIA community, was our father. Even if you didn’t know him, you benefited from his lifelong commitment to activism. Whenever I would introduce him on stage or acknowledge him from the audience, I would credit him as ‘The Grandpapa of Capitol Hill’ and the crowd would cheer.”

The issue is filled with 10 pages of more tributes from friends and colleagues, and many more photos of Bakan. More than a few of the “tributes and eulogies … via Facebook” that were reprinted in the newspaper included the words “Rest In Power.”

In the newspaper’s July 10 issue, U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, whose district includes Seattle’s heavily-LGBTQ Capitol Hill neighborhood, took out a full page ad paying “tribute and reverence” to Bakan.

Volume 22

Issue 5

We will survive: We’ve done it before, we’ll do it again

Letter From The Publisher

by Todd Evans

(Todd Evans is the publisher of Press Pass Q and the president and CEO of Rivendell Media. He can be reached at todd@rivendellmedia.com or 908-232-2021 ext 210.)

I’m writing to reach out to all our LGBTQ publishers during this unprecedented time of COVID-19. Once again, we find LGBTQ media in the throes of a crisis.

Todd Evans

Aside from the initial fights to publish and print our community’s publications, the first real crisis to hit the flourishing LGBTQ press was AIDS. Few remember how that caused the first real downturn in advertising dollars and caused a big distribution shake up.

The tragedy of 9/11 brought another freeze in advertising dollars, and the recession of 2008 and 2009 was the perfect storm for print. So many froze their advertising dollars while the media landscape was tossed and shaken to find out where the readers really were.

We survived all of those and grew in leaps and bounds in between. Have faith publishers, for we will survive this too and thrive once again.

The world is different now, but our struggle for equality and acceptance goes on. We still have a lot of work to do, so LGBTQ media is as important as ever. Last year actually saw print circulation increases, and we were certainly going to see that again in 2020 until COVID-19 hit. Now again, everyone is looking at everything to figure out the winners and losers. I write this today to tell you that LGBTQ media will be one of the winners when all is said and done.

Aside from the Great Recession, every recession brought growth to our industry. If not for the cries of “print is dead” from digital media, 2009 would have been much the same as the previous recessions when advertisers were forced to focus their ad dollars where they would have the most impact. Television will always be the lowest cost per eyeball, but it still comes at a very high entry price, even in tough times. Companies will and are looking for market slices that will provide the most return on investment and, fortunately, the LGBTQ market is now well understood to be the most resilient and lucrative for many advertising categories — especially travel, financial and spirits.

Now is the time to hunker down, build your brand, and focus your attention on our community so that as things open back up we can be ready to grow — and grow we will. That time will come sooner than you think. Rest, work and build, while doing all you can to be ready for the uptick.

There is work to be done, and we need a new Democratic administration to boost diversity. But then the sky is the limit. No aspect of LGBTQ media will be left behind — print and digital have found their proper places and not having dedicated television networks like other minority markets will only help our existing channels. LGBTQ media is not only cost effective, but also easy to identify, and the results from years and years of surveys and case studies speak for themselves.

So be optimistic and supportive. A lot of us need help right now to get to that place of continued growth. Most importantly, help our LGBTQ champions — executive, political, student and community leaders — move our market forward. As we know, businesses understand that diversity is in their own best interest.

Lastly, beware of charlatans; tough times seem to bring them out. These are people, usually with little or no experience or track record, that promise the world but have never done anything successful in the past. Now is the time to gather around the tried and true media properties, companies, and organizations that can and will help us move forward. We can do this. We will do this. We have the rainbow as our symbol for so many reasons. One is to take us to the future together, and another is for the celebration after the storm.

I am always available to anyone in our industry to help. Call or email me todd@rivendellmedia.com, 908-232-2021 ext 210). I promise to be frank and provide all I can from our over 40 years of experience in our marketplace.

Volume 22

Issue 5

Commentary: Capitalize the B in “Black”

by Jeremy Williams
(Jeremy Williams is editor in chief of Watermark, based in Orlando, Fla. The following editorial appeared in the newspaper’s June 25, 2020, issue and is reprinted here with permission.)

As anyone who has worked with me here at Watermark can tell you, I am an AP Style purist.

For those who are not familiar, AP Style — short for The Associated Press Stylebook — is the standard of the mass communication world. This book instructs journalists on basic grammar and punctuation when writing the news. It’s the reason no self-respecting journalist will use an Oxford comma no matter how much sense you think it makes and why you will see a hyphen link two words one moment, then no hyphen the next day and then the same words hyphenated once again a week later.

Jeremy Williams

Does it always make sense? No, but that nonsense is how it has been since the first AP Stylebook was

published and it is how most journalists — this one included — were taught. “The AP Stylebook is your bible,” I was told by my favorite journalism professor Ken Carpenter, and I have kept that bit of knowledge — as well as the Stylebook — front and center when I write, edit and read any news story.

So I was very happy when AP announced June 19 that it would be adopting the capitalized “B” when writing stories about the Black community.

“AP’s style is now to capitalize Black in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense, conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa,” AP wrote in a social media post. “We also now capitalize Indigenous in reference to original inhabitants of a place. These changes align with long-standing capitalization of other racial and ethnic identifiers such as Latino, Asian American and Native American.”

Increased coverage of anti-racism, police brutality and Black Lives Matter by mainstream news outlets opened discussions in newsrooms as to whether the “B” in Black should be capitalized when reporting about the Black community.

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) issued a statement calling for all media outlets to begin capitalizing racial identifiers, something news outlets like NBC News and USA Today have done.

On matters of Black people, Black communities, Black culture and Black institutions, the NABJ should be the group that other news organizations look to for stylebook guidance just as the NLGJA: The National Association of LGBTQ Journalists provides guidance on LGBTQ terminology.

When the fight for marriage equality was frequently in the news, NLGJA encouraged media to use “same-sex marriage” instead of “gay marriage” and “LGBTQ rights” rather than “gay rights” to show inclusivity in reporting.

Watermark and other LGBTQ publications in the U.S. used terms like Latinx, capitalized the word Pride and added the Q to LGBT in news reporting before The AP Stylebook began to utilize them. When it comes to writing about marginalized communities, this “AP purist” will always look to the journalist association for said community over the AP for guidance and clarification, and I encourage all journalists to do the same.

For those in the journalism world who are detractors to the style change of capitalizing Black, pointing to the fact that the word “white” when referring race isn’t capitalized, please understand the term “white” does not indicate a culture, just the color of a person’s skin. It is simple for most white people to trace their lineage back to where and when their ancestors came to North America.

I have taken one of those mail-in DNA tests and found that I am mostly British and Italian with some Irish, Scottish, French, Greek and German mixed in. I can easily research the history and culture of my ancestors. Notice that these words are capitalized as they indicate the culture of my ancestors. Because of slavery, most Black people in the U.S. have a more difficult time tracing where their ancestors came from.

If you’re a white person still calling for “White” to be capitalized in news publications, please keep in mind that in most cases these days, “White” is usually proceeded by a racist indicator like “Nationalist,” “Power” and “House.”

As we listen to Black voices in the world of journalism, we open up our pages to local, LGBTQ Black voices. The best way to learn where someone has been and what they have lived through is to open up, be silent and listen; so that is what we do in this issue as six LGBTQ Black activists in Central Florida and Tampa Bay express their views, open dialogues on race and share their stories.

Volume 22

Issue 5

Pressing Questions: Wire Magazine of Miami

Interview with Owner, Publisher and Editor in Chief Rafa Carvajal
by Joe Siegel

Year founded: 1991

Staff size and breakdown: Five, plus several contributing writers and photographers

Physical dimensions of publication: 8.375” x 10.875”

Average page count: 32

Key demographics: LGBTQ community and allies, with a particular focus on gay men

Print run: 10,000 per issue

Website: www.wiremag.com


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

Rafa Carvaja
Rafa Carvajal

Owner, Publisher and Editor in Chief Rafa Carvajal: Our beautiful models, hot models calendar issues, celebrity interviews, dining delicious columns, and special issues for events such as the Winter Party, Miami Beach Pride, Circuit Festival Miami, OUTshine Film Festival, South Beach Wine & Food Festival and Miami Art Week.

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

Carvajal: Founder and first owner Andrew Delaplaine parted ways with his business partner in a publication called Antenna and decided to call his new venture Wire Magazine.

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

Carvajal: Continuing to publish under three owners, while successfully evolving into the glossy, color, lifestyle magazine that I envisioned Wire Magazine should become.

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Wire Magazine facing now?

Carvajal: The closure, hopefully temporary, of several businesses that were very loyal advertisers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PPQ: How has Wire Magazine changed since it was first launched?

Carvajal: It has become a beautiful, glossy lifestyle publication printed in color with very diverse content. It

used to be printed in black and white on newspaper print.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make?

Carvajal: Distribute nationally to key LGBTQ markets with local partners.

PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories Wire Magazine has covered? 

Carvajal: Many celebrity interviews such as Joan Rivers, Whoopi Goldberg, Gloria Estefan, Adam Lambert, Enrique Iglesias and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.

PPQ: On the Kinsey Scale of 0-6 (exclusively straight to totally gay), how gay is your publication?

Carvajal: 6.

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

Carvajal: Yes. I strongly believe in fighting for the rights of our LGBTQ community and for speaking out forcefully against discrimination and for equal rights.

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

Carvajal: Thanking me for the continued support of the LGBTQ community and for the very sexy models we regularly showcase in Wire Magazine in the same conversation.

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

Carvajal: Set some money aside to invest in the publication, get ready to work very hard, and be very motivated to succeed no matter how many challenges get in your way.

Volume 22

Issue 5