Thursday, November 16, 2017

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

910 AM SUPERSTATION, based in Detroit, is the home of a weekly radio segment dedicated to LGBT conversations. This is a first for a large commercial radio station in Michigan. CURTIS LIPSCOMB, executive director of LGBT Detroit, and STEPH WHITE, executive director of Equality Michigan, are the show’s hosts. The program airs Mondays 8:00-8:15 p.m. and can be live streamed at www.910amsuperstation.com.

CHRONICLE, the new collaborative visual storytelling platform, has launched an initiative to crowdsource stories from LGBT individuals and organizations, creating a chronicle to tell the bigger story and visual history of the community. People and organizations add photographs with descriptive details directly to the LGBT chronicle (currently 1948-present) timeline to help build and be part of the story. Current participants include organizations and activists such as GWEN SMITH, founder of National Transgender Day of Remembrance; AYDIAN DOWLING, the first trans man on the cover of Men’s Health; and young YouTube influencer ARE THEY GAY. The chronicle can be accessed at onechronicle.com/chronicles/lgbtq.

Robert Moore
THE EQUALITY FORUM, based in Philadelphia, is seeking nominations for its 2018 LGBT History Month Icons. Nominated LGBT Icons may be living or dead, national or international. Selection is based on one or more of the following criteria: The nominee is distinguished in their field of endeavor, a national hero and/ or a significant contributor to LGBT civil rights. The deadline for nominations is December 8, 2017. For more information, go to https://lgbthistorymonth.com.

GOGUIDE MAGAZINE, based in Iowa City, Iowa, announced the availability of a new program called GoGUIDE Cares.

ROBERT MOORE, the co-founder and former publisher of DALLAS VOICE, has been honoured by the Dallas Press Club with a Hugh Aynesworth Award for Excellence in Journalism. He was awarded for a photograph he took of police officer J.D. Smith during the July 7, 2016, Dallas Police ambush.

JAY YOCHIM is OUT & ABOUT NASHVILLE’s second full-time advertising salesperson. He recently moved to Nashville from Houston, Texas, where he was working for Nordstrom. He has a degree in public relations and is a former NCAA athlete.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 19
Issue 8

The controversial non-outing of Kevin Spacey

by Joe Siegel

The recent sexual harassment allegations lodged against actor Kevin Spacey have drawn criticism aimed at LGBT publications, which were hesitant to “out” closeted male celebrities such as Spacey.

Late last month, “Rent” actor Anthony Rapp revealed that Spacey had made a pass at him at a party in 1985. Rapp was only 14 at the time.

In response to the Rapp story, Spacey announced he was now going to live his life as an openly gay man. Spacey has also been accused of sexual harassment by multiple members of the “House of Cards” production team. Netflix, which produces the series, later fired Spacey, who has entered a rehabilitation facility where he is being treated for sex addiction.

Rapp’s story was published in The Advocate in 2001, but Spacey’s name was redacted.

Author and radio host Michelangelo Signorile, who wrote for Out and The Advocate, believes the magazines’ refusals to reveal Spacey’s sexual orientation “thus allowed Spacey to continue to sexually assault and harass men and boys.”

“The reasons offered by publications for having an ‘anti-outing' policy are often high-minded when, in fact, it is about old-fashioned capitalism driven by homophobia ― fear of losing business ― that has kept these policies in place,” Signorile said, adding “a blanket anti-outing policy is wrong-headed and dangerous.”

Bruce Steele, the former editor of the magazines, defended his decision in a recent column.

“The Advocate had developed a ‘no outing’ policy before I joined the staff, and we stuck to it,” Steele wrote. “We cajoled, befriended and pressured, but we did not report on anyone's sexuality without their cooperation. Just as each of us had reached the decision to come out in our own time, celebrities needed the same opportunity, even if it took them years and years.”

The editors of various LGBT publications have now weighed in on the issue of outing.

Cynthia Laird, news editor of the Bay Area Reporter in San Francisco, said the paper does not “out” people.

“We have published numerous stories over the years where people decline to identify themselves as members of the LGBT community,” Laird noted. “In those cases, we report that the person declined to state their sexual orientation [or gender identity].”

Laird said the paper’s treatment of Spacey, or any other celebrity, would be very different from The Advocate’s.

“If something happened similar to the Kevin Spacey incident with The Advocate, we would have used Spacey's name and made an effort to contact him,” Laird said. “I would add, however, that we generally require a police report or lawsuit to be filed in assault cases before we will cover it.”

Paul Schindler, editor and associate publisher of New York-based Gay City News, also questions the way The Advocate handled the Rapp allegations against Spacey.

“I can't possibly see how you could decide someone's accusations of sexual harassment — or assault if that be the case — were newsworthy, but that the alleged perpetrator should have the autonomy to come out at a time of their choosing,” Schindler said. “If Rapp's account at that time had sufficient credibility to move forward with a story, I would have given Spacey the opportunity to respond or reported that he declined to comment.”

Schindler said there are different circumstances surrounding who gets outed in print and who doesn’t. “I think it goes nearly without saying that in cases where closeted gay people hypocritically work politically against the community, it's hard to imagine any reason to offer them any courtesies counter to our typical reporting standards.”

Kevin Naff, editor of the D.C.-based Washington Blade, said the paper “has reported the sexual orientation of closeted anti-LGBT figures for many years.”

“I have no hesitation in reporting that information because there's nothing wrong or shameful about being LGBT,” Naff said. “Kevin Spacey is a damaged person who hid in the closet for 50 years, then came out only to deflect attention and excuse the horrific accusations made against him. How can we expect the school teacher in Peoria or the construction worker in Alabama to come out when the wealthiest and most privileged among us choose to hide in the closet?”

TOP STORY
Volume 19
Issue 8

Ohio health center debuts LGBT magazine

by Fred Kuhr

Equitas Health, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest LGBT and HIV healthcare providers in the country. Now, it’s also in the magazine business.

Prizm, a glossy monthly published by Equitas Health, premiered with its 40-page October 2017 issue.

“Our goal for Prizm is to connect LGBTQ Ohioans and contribute to our sense of shared community,” said Bill Hardy, president and CEO of Equitas Health for 25 years. “In its pages, you will find wide-ranging news and information as well as personal stories and experiences that celebrate who we are.”

Hardy added that the move into news and publishing shouldn’t be a surprise, calling it “strategically aligned with our mission.” Additionally, all of Prizm’s profits will be invested back into Equitas Health’s community-based health and social services. “The advertisers who are a part of this first issue have stepped up to support the launch of this new venture, but also are supporting our organization’s work across Ohio.”

Carol Zimmer Clark, publisher of the Dayton (Ohio) Business Journal from 2011, is now the publisher of Prizm, handling both its print and digital news service. She noted that 25,000 copies of the new print magazine will be distributed to more than 1,000 locations across Ohio.

In the coming months, said Clark, Prizm will be forming “reader advisory boards” in cities across Ohio “to ensure that our content always reflects the diverse lives, experiences and viewpoints of our readers.”

Equitas Health, formerly known as AIDS Resource Center Ohio, was founded in 1984. With 15 offices in 11 cities, it serves more than 67,000 people in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia each year through its diverse healthcare and social service delivery system focused around primary and specialized medical care, dental services, behavioral health, HIV/STI prevention, advocacy, and community health initiatives, according to its website.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 19
Issue 8

QLife launches in Rhode Island after Options halts publishing

by Joe Siegel

QLife, based in Las Vegas, has expanded its online editions to Ohio and Rhode Island, according to editor Russ White.

White said QLife launched its city editions in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York last January. The first statewide edition of QLife launched in September and the Rhode Island edition launched November 1.

“In just two months, we’ve seen our Ohio readership increase 132 percent,” White wrote. “We expect to see our Rhode Island readership increase as much, if not more in the coming months.”

White said QLife was expanding its digital platform in cities where LGBT publications have folded.

“We expanded to Los Angeles and New York a year ago with the collapse of Frontiers [in Los Angeles] and Next [in New York City],” White explained. “We added Ohio in September with the shuddering of [Columbus-based] Outlook Ohio.”

In Rhode Island, longtime LGBT newsmagazine Options suspended publication last July. White noted there was a need in the state for an LGBT publication.

“We took a wait-and-see approach with Options, but with no activity there in months, we made the expansion,” White said. “We choose our expansions very deliberately and carefully. If there is an existing legacy publication, we are less likely to expand. That was the case with Florida. Even though Agenda collapsed, Florida has many other viable publications, so it wasn’t a good fit for us.”

Kyle McKendall, the executive director of Options, said it is yet to be determined when the magazine will resume, noting the board of directors does intend to “bring it back as soon as possible.”

“The board is working thoughtfully, and is outlining a plan to restructure the organization and explore ways to be financially stable,” McKendall said.

As for QLife, McKendall said White reached out to him last July with a proposal that QLife assume the publication role of Options. McKendall told White that the Options board of directors was examining ways to bring the magazine back.

“His decision to enter the Rhode Island market with QLife appears to be a direct attempt to capitalize on our organization during a vulnerable time,” McKendall added. “QLife is a for-profit organization and I question their motives with the recent announcement of a Rhode Island publication.” 
McKendall believes Options will thrive despite the presence of QLife.

“I don't think it's accurate to say that QLife is a rival publication,” McKendall said. “I'm confident that our deep ties to the LGBTQ nonprofit community, commitment to and from readers, and history of serving the local community for 35 years, sets our organization apart from any for-profit operation.” 

White said QLife plans further expansion to other regions of the country.

“As we choose where we expand, we take the competitive landscape into account,” White added. “Our priorities are the underserved communities that emerge when a print publication fails and communities that do not have existing publications. We’re also working on business models that allow entrepreneurs to license the QLife brand and infrastructure and start their own local affiliate.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 19
Issue 8

Out & About Nashville staffers reflect on first 15 years

by Fred Kuhr

As Out & About Nashville Publisher Jerry Jones puts it, when his publication launched 15 years ago last month, Nashville was a very different place.

Nashville “wasn’t one of the 15 largest cities in the country, Pride wasn’t one of the summer’s must-attend citywide events, and our leaders weren’t dependably LGBT allies.”

That was then, but this is now, according to the newspaper’s staff — who marked the magazine’s milestone in the pages of its October 2017 issue.

“I started this publication 15 years ago with just an idea and a dream,” wrote Jones. “I felt like Nashville needed a professional publication that would report on the LGBT community and serve as a hub to many spokes in our community.”

In those 15 years, the publication has grown from a “small paper mailed out, to a newsprint monthly, to the magazine it is today.”

When Mike Moore, in charge of design layout and production, first moved to Nashville 10 years ago, he was in the closet. “I was terrified to be seen picking [Out & About Nashville] up.” But three years ago, he applied for the layout position. “I knew working for an LGBT publication would be so much fun. It was very exciting for me, personally, to see this publication transition from a newspaper to a magazine.”

Advertising Designer Donna Huff started with the magazine back in its “humble beginnings with an all-volunteer staff of editors, writers, photographers and designers. We spent many an evening at Jerry [Jones’] home gathered in a circle brainstorming the next month’s articles and feverishly hand-stuffing envelopes and separating them for bulk mail to deliver to the post office for our subscription service.”

Managing Print Editor James Grady took the opportunity to reach out to readers. “I won’t lie, the job can be frustrating,” he wrote. “But I stick with it because there are still too many people I need to meet and too many stories that need to be told. If I haven’t met you yet, introduce yourself — please. It’s never going to get easier for this introvert, but I’d love to hear your story.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 19
Issue 8

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Windy City Times of Chicago

Interview with Co-Founder and Publisher Tracy Baim
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: Chicago and nearby suburbs

Year founded: 1985

Physical dimensions of publication: 10” x 10” is final artwork size, 10.5” x 10.5” is paper size

Average page count: 32

Print run: 9,000-10,000 weekly

Web site: www.windycitymediagroup.com

*****

PPQ: What feature or features of Windy City Times have been the most popular with readers?

Baim: Anything local is certainly what distinguishes us, as we are the only LGBTQ newspaper in the area.

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

Baim: Jeff McCourt, one of the co-founders, wanted a name that sounded sophisticated and was not specifically gay. It was competing against GayLife, which many of us left to co-found Windy City Times. 

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

Baim: Economics and financial stability are always the most difficult issues.

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Windy City Times facing now?

Baim: The advertising business is being co-opted by social media sites and Google, so it is difficult for small regional media to survive against multi-billion dollar tech companies.

PPQ: How has Windy City Times changed since it was first launched? 

Baim: Digital is probably the biggest change. It allows us to break stories everyday, and store our complete set of articles, and bonus online articles, so that stories have a larger and longer-term impact.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make? 

Baim: Having more advertising so we can have more editorial staff.

PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories Windy City Times has covered?

Baim: There are many ongoing topics we cover, including HIV/AIDS and political issues, in every edition of the paper. So I think our consistency with covering these ongoing stories is what sets us apart from the mainstream, which dips into these LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS issues only periodically.

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

Baim: 5.5. We do cover a lot of social justice mainstream issues and lots of non-LGBTQ entertainment.

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

Baim: People would see me that way, but I consider myself a journalist who is pro-LGBTQ equality, and for many that makes me an activist.

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

Baim: I love hearing from readers who are now in their 40s and 50s or older, who say that back in the 1980s and 1990s, Windy City Times and my other papers I have had — Outlines, BLACKLines, En La Vida — had a profound impact on their life, in making them feel connected to the community.

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

Baim: In 2017, I would not suggest a print publication. There are so many opportunities online, at much lower risk and cost.

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 19
Issue 8

Thursday, October 26, 2017

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

BRITTANI ACUFF is the new brand manager for HOTSPOTS magazine in its expanded Central Florida office in Orlando.

JORGE AMARO has been named the new senior program director of RESOURCE MEDIA, a non-profit communications firm in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was the media and public relations director at the NATIONAL LGBTQ TASK FORCE.

SCOTT BARNES, a Chicago-based professional photographer and media specialist, passed away September 9, 2017, at the age of 50. Most recently, he served as web content specialist and search engine optimization editor for the American Medical Association.

ECHO MAGAZINE, based in Phoenix, Ariz., entered its 29th year of publication with its October 2017 issue.

GOGUIDE, based in Iowa City, Iowa, celebrated its second anniversary with its Fall 2017 issue.

Lori Lindsey
ALAN KENNEDY-SHAFFER, a former columnist for Middletown, Penn.-based THE CENTRAL VOICE, is running as a Democrat in Pennsylvania Senate District 34. Locally, he is known as the founder of Harrisburg Hope,  a community and political organization to address the state capital city’s financial issues.

LORI LINDSEY, the retired American soccer star, was the guest editor of the WASHINGTON BLADE’s 5th annual Sports Issue, which published on August 25, 2017.

KAYDEN MILLER is the new education coordinate at the Rochester, N.Y.-based GAY ALLIANCE, which publishes THE EMPTY CLOSET.

OUTWORD, based in Sacramento, Calif., celebrated its 22nd anniversary with its August 24, 2017, issue.

WINDY CITY TIMES, based in Chicago, entered its 33rd year of publication with its September 20, 2017, issue.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 19
Issue 7