Tuesday, July 25, 2017

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

GAY SAN DIEGO columnist MICHAEL KIMMEL has published his first book, “The Gay Man’s Guide to Open and Monogamous Marriage.” Published by Rowman & Littlefield, it was released on June 8.

GED MAGAZINE, which stands for Gay Entertainment Directory and is based in Long Beach, Calif., celebrated its fourth anniversary with June 2017 issue.

GoGUiDE MAGAZINE, based in Iowa City, Iowa, raised $500 as part of its fundraising partnership with the Iowa City Pride Committee. Iowa City celebrated Pride June 14, and the check was presented to the committee June 1. This came as a result of a partnership that had the magazine print the official local pride guide. In turn, the magazine promised to donate a portion of the sales of every advertising and sponsorship package sold to the pride committee.

GoGUiDE MAGAZINE also announced two new additions to its staff. CASEY BARTLEY will join the staff as a regular columnist. His column My Perfectly Imperfect World will debut online this month and in print this September. Also joining the staff is WILLIAM SPENCER, who will serve as assistant editor as well as write a regular column on the local film scene.

Rudy Kikel
RUDY KIKEL, author, poet, longtime arts editor at Boston’s BAY WINDOWS, died on May 23 of a heart attack. He was 75. Kikel joined newspaper from its inception as poetry, arts and entertainment editor, a job he held for over 20 years. After retiring, he published a selection of his popular “One of Us” interview columns as a book. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2002. He survived by his husband and partner of 30 years, STERLING GILES. Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be directed to GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, 30 Winter Street, Suite 800, Boston, MA 02108, or to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (note in memo line: Movement Disorder Center), 330 Brookline Avenue, SCC809D, Boston, MA 02215. 

KENNETH MAYER, MD, founding medial research director of Boston’s Fenway Health and professor at Harvard Medical School, is the new editor in chief of the JOURNAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL AIDS SOCIETY.

MESSAGE, based in Los Angeles, celebrated its 20th anniversary with its Summer 2017 issue.

OUR LIVES, based in Madison, Wisc., celebrated its 10th anniversary in July 2017.

PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS is the winner of the 2016 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Deadline Reporting for its coverage of the Pulse tragedy in Orlando last year. The newspaper is the only LGBT publication among the 85 publications honoured across the U.S. The award is shared by Editor JENN COLLETTA, Art Director/Photographer SCOTT A. DRAKE, and former staff writer PAIGE COOPERSTEIN.

THE RAINBOW TIMES, based in Boston, launched its first annual Pride Cruise series on June 23 and June 25 out of Salem, Mass., during North Shore Pride weekend.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 19
Issue 4

11th annual Community Survey Report released

by Joe Siegel

Community Marketing & Insights (CMI) has released its 11th annual LGBT Community Survey Report and the findings reveal growing anxiety about the political climate in the United States.

Over 41,000 respondents from LGBT communities in 131 countries participated in the survey. In addition, over 180 LGBT media, events and organizations worldwide partnered with CMI in this year’s study. The survey was sponsored by Wells Fargo.

David Paisley, CMI's senior
research director
“The survey shows a community that is still quite economically confident, but now has renewed political and social concerns,” said David Paisley, senior research director for CMI, which is based in San Francisco. “It also shows that the LGBT community desires to and will continue to work with corporations and the business community to create social change to improve the economic lives of LGBT Americans.”

Todd Evans, owner of Rivendell Media (which also publishes Press Pass Q), was pleased by the enthusiasm of LGBT consumers for companies that support LGBT rights.

Evans also cited the increased participation in LGBT Pride celebrations across the nation as a sign of a “reinvigorated” LGBT consumer market.

“The numbers are way up,” Evans said. “More people want to be involved.”

Evans also cited the continued success of LGBT print and online media and noted “publications are what grounds our community.”

With the changing political environment in the U.S., the LGBT community may feel less secure than it did in the recent past. For example, 82 percent of respondents indicated that they fear the loss of LGBT civil rights recently gained.

Overall, LGBT community members are negative about the political and social direction of the country across every indicator tested, with 85 percent indicating that the country is heading in the wrong direction, and 85 percent reporting increased fear of hate crime violence.

Fifty-sex percent of LGBT community members living the U.S. consider the country to be LGBT-friendly, compared to 98 percent of Canadians who consider Canada to be LGBT-friendly. However, most LGBT participants in the U.S. considered their local community to be LGBT-friendly (82 percent), which may be an indication that LGBT Americans move to places where they feel more welcome. This has important implications for local communities in attracting employees and tax dollars, notes the report.

The state-by-state analysis revealed people living in “blue” states had high praise for their state and local community, and those living in “red” states had negative perceptions of their state, but more positive perceptions of their local community.

The report also showed that the pace of same-sex marriages is beginning to slow. Twelve percent of those surveyed who indicated that they were married, said the ceremony was in the past year, compared to 24 percent one to two years ago. CMI expects this percentage to further decrease this coming year as we start to enter a more “stable” era for same-sex wedding rates, perhaps ultimately mirroring the general population.

Every year, CMI asks an unaided “write-in” recall question about brands that participants make a conscious decision to purchase because of their pro-LGBT policies or practices in the past 12 months. In 2017, Target, Apple, Starbucks and Amazon retained their top four rankings. New to the top 12 rankings are Disney, Nike, and Ben & Jerry’s.

CMI estimates that there are about 3.5 million LGBT Americans who work for corporations or own their own businesses, and control at least some part of their business’ spending budget.

Through an analysis of the study data, CMI estimates that the value of “LGBT consumer loyalty-influenced business purchases” spending to be about $18.8 billion (U.S.) annually.

TOP STORY
Volume 19
Issue 4

Publisher of Columbus’ Outlook Magazine arrested

by Fred Kuhr

Columbus, Ohio-based Outlook Magazine has suspended publication in light of the arrest of publisher, editor-in-chief and art director Christopher Hayes.

Hayes lives in Columbus, but was arrested in Parkersburg, West Virginia on July 3. According to a crime report in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, Hayes was arraigned on “two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, meth and oxycodone hydrochloride, and bond was set at $100,000.” Hayes reportedly remains in custody.

Outlook last published in May and, according to the Columbus Dispatch, no employees are working at its office.

Readers were reportedly left concerned after the sudden cancellation of “Out With Our Elected Officials,” an annual June event hosted by the magazine.

The magazine’s sales director, Mike Moffo, told the Dispatch that he was “not at liberty to talk about” the status of Outlook or Hayes’ arrest.

Former associate publisher and ad director Chad Frye told the Dispatch that he could not confirm that Outlook was completely finished, but said, “It appears to have fizzled out.”

Some new content continued to be published online through June and is still available at https://outlookohio.com

IN THE NEWS
Volume 19
Issue 4

Rhode Island magazine runs out of Options

by Joe Siegel

Options, Rhode Island’s all-volunteer LGBT newsmagazine, has suspended publication due to financial problems.

Kyle McKendall, the magazine’s executive director, made the announcement in a letter to subscribers earlier this month.

McKendall said the move was made because of a lack of funds and volunteers. “Despite the growth we’ve seen in readers and revenue over the past three years, we continue to struggle with maintaining the resources needed operate at a level that is expected by readers and advertisers,” McKendall wrote.

“Roles that need to be filled in order for Options to function include a manager of advertising, distribution, website, social media, art/photography, and billing as well as finding more writers, editors, and copyeditors to get involved,” McKendall added.

Over the next few months, McKendall worte, leaders will “evaluate the state of the organization, attempt to identify opportunities for financial growth that will provide stability, and gauge interest and support levels from readers.  The board and the volunteers who produce Options each month want it to prosper, but our future is uncertain and we need more help.”

McKendall also announced his resignation from his position as president of the magazine’s board of directors. 

This past May, the Options staff held a lavish party to mark the 35th anniversary of the publication. McKendall was ebullient about the magazine’s “new momentum” such as an increased subscription rate, adding that the volunteers who write, proofread, and distribute Options all over the state were the magazine’s “lifeline.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 19
Issue 4

St. Louis’ Vital Voice Magazine goes online only

by Fred Kuhr

Vital Voice Magazine, based in St. Louis, Mo., announced that it will continue to exist as an online-only publication, ceasing its print edition with its June 2017 Pride issue.

The announcement was made by CEO and Partner Darin Slyman in the issue’s Publisher’s Letter.

“Vital Voice will remain a digital entity, bringing you up-to-date LGBT news and relevant entertainment content,” Slyman wrote. “We are looking forward to expanding the digital experience for our readers and clients.”

In January 2010, Slyman “embarked as CEO on a mission to create a life and style publication that would make the LGBT community relatable to all. … It was time to show St. Louis a more well-rounded perspective of our community.”

James Lesch, who joined the magazine in 2011 as an intern, was eventually brought on as publisher and partner.

“Finding our footing wasn’t easy, especially in the first few years,” said Slyman. “We quickly learned that in order to stabilize and grow the company, we had to look outside the LGBT community for financial support. Before its transformation to a magazine, Vital Voice newspaper suffering a lack of financial support directly from the community. With passion and drive, we worked diligently to build a reputable brand that anyone who would want to engage in the LGBT community would be proud to be part of. Little by little, that vision became a reality.”

By 2014, the magazine was so successful that it expanded to Kansas City, Mo.

The magazine lives on at http://www.thevitalvoice.com

IN THE NEWS
Volume 19
Issue 4

National LGBT Media Association hands out 2nd annual Ad POP Awards

by Fred Kuhr

The National LGBT Media Association has announced its second annual Ad POP award winners, including many top corporate brand names.

Formerly known as the National Gay Media Association, the National LGBT Media Association brings together the top regional newspapers serving the U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. Its recent name change, rebranding and updated website reflect renewed focus on inclusion for all of the parts of the LGBT community, and is in line with recent surveys on language choices by the community.

The Ad POPs (Pride in Online and Print) reward the best representations of LGBT advertising in online and print campaigns. LGBT media differs from other minority media by being most successful when it is local. All national ads placed in local LGBT media are automatically entered into the Ad POP awards. The Ad Pops recognize clients, creative and placement agencies, and winners are selected based on their image and messaging.

The organization represents legacy brand names and new top performing papers including Bay Area Reporter in San Francisco, Bay Windows  in Boston, Between the Lines in Detroit, Dallas Voice, Gay City News in New York City, Los Angeles Blade, Philadelphia Gay News, Wilton Manors-based South Florida Gay News, Atlanta-based Georgia Voice, Washington Blade, Watermark in Orlando, and Windy City Times in Chicago.

Rivendell Media, which represents more than 150 LGBT media companies to advertisers, helped coordinate national entries across local LGBT media.

The National LGBT Media Association “represents a collective of top publishers in top U.S. markets and is a terrific vehicle for national advertisers to reach the LGBT marketplace," said Todd Evans, president of Rivendell, which also publishes Press Pass Q.

"Gay media is local media," said Evans. "It provides the best on-the-ground information to serve the diverse LGBT community.”

Awards were granted based on 2016 advertising campaigns on both a local and national level. The national winners are:

Pharmaceutical, ViiV Healthcare; Non-Profit, This Free Life; Financial, U.S. Bank; Automotive, Nissan; Technology, Xfinity/Comcast Universal; Travel (Major LGBT Destination), Visit Denver; Travel (Emerging LGBT Destination), OutRVA (Richmond, Va.); and Hotel. Ace Hotel.

For more information, go to www.nationallgbtmediaassociation.com

IN THE NEWS
Volume 19
Issue 4

Longtime Chicago publisher and activist Chuck Renslow dies

courtesy of Windy City Times

CHICAGO — Chuck Renslow, a longtime pillar of the LGBT community in Chicago and around the world, died June 29 after multiple long-term health issues. He was the publisher of Triumph, Mars and Rawhide Male magazines, publications mailed and shared across the country as the earliest ways gay men found each other. He was 87.

Chuck Renslow (courtesy
Windy City Times)
Renslow reigned over a seven-decade empire, starting more than two dozen businesses — bars, discos, photo studios, health clubs, bathhouses, gay magazines and newspapers, hotels, restaurants and bookstores. He fostered organizations and dealt with Mafia and police payoffs, the Chicago Machine, anti-gay government policies, and controversy within the gay community.

The founder of International Mr. Leather, owner of Man’s Country and the Gold Coast bar, publisher of the GayLife newspaper in the 1980s, political activist, and much more was an out business owner since the 1950s. He was a critical contributor to a wide range of political, social, business, health and other causes. 

In the early ‘50s, Renslow founded Kris Studios, one of the earliest and most durable of the physique photography houses. He was an accomplished photographer, including of the ballet. His dance photography is in the Newberry Library dance collection in the Chuck Renslow Dance Photographs collection.

He opened Gold Coast, believed to be the first leather bar in the U.S., in Chicago in 1958. He was the founder of many bars and sex clubs since the ‘60s including Man’s Country, which is still open in the city’s Andersonville neighborhood. 

Renslow had many partners over the years, among them Dom 'Etienne’ Orejudos, who he was with more than 40 years and, and helped encourage Dom’s work as the artist Etienne.

In 1979, he founded International Mr. Leather, which grew out of his Mr. Gold Coast contest and the experience he had managing A.A.U. physique competitions. When Etienne died, Renslow combined his collection of Eteinne’s art with his own archives from his business and his life. Subsequently, Renslow and Tony DeBlase co-founded the Leather Archives & Museum in 1991. Renslow served as president for many years.

Renslow was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 1991 and received dozens of awards from the gay and leather communities. He received The Leather Journal’s lifetime achievement award and a Centurion Award as Leatherman of the Century.

He served on the board of directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and was a U.S. representative to what was known then as the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

Renslow also was involved in newspapers, purchasing GayLife from its founder, Grant Ford, and publishing it for several years, until it folded in 1986.

Renslow was especially active in politics in the ‘70s and ‘80s, as the gay community gained clout. He was the founder of Prairie State Democratic Club in 1980, and they hosted events with top politicians from Chicago and Cook County, and even presidential candidates coming through the area. He pushed for the gay and lesbian civil-rights ordinance when it was first introduced in the City Council in the early ‘70s, and the initial executive order banning discrimination in Chicago city government, as issued by then-Mayor Jane Byrne.

He served as a Democratic Party 43rd Ward precinct captain for eight years, as a candidate for delegate to the 1980 Democratic National Convention (for U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy), and within the 46th and 48th Ward Democratic Organizations.

His other bars and businesses have included the Chicago Eagle, Triumph Health Studios, Sparrows Lounge, Bistro Too, Zolar, The Club Baths, Center Stage and Pyramid.

The Leather Archives & Museum staff and board issued this statement, in part: "As LA&M’s co-founder, Chuck gave deeply and worked with great passion for over 26 years to save the names and faces of Leather, kink, BDSM and fetish people, communities, and history, and he fought to ensure that Leatherfolk were the ones who would ‘tell' their own stories so that they might better understand and bring enhanced visibility to 'Leather history.' As co-founder, longtime president and, most recently, chairman of the board, Chuck has left his mark throughout our institution and touched each of us very deeply. He will be missed.”

Renslow’s life is chronicled in “Leatherman: The Legend of Chuck Renslow,” by Tracy Baim, publisher of the Windy City Media Group, and Owen Keehnen.

For more information about Renslow, including a video interview, go to http://chicagogayhistory.org/biography.html?id=772

IN THE NEWS
Volume 19
Issue 4

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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, celebrated its 20th anniversary with its June 2017 issue.

BALTIMORE OUTLOUD, based in Maryland, celebrated its 15th anniversary with its May 12, 2017, issue.
DALLAS VOICE celebrated its 33rd anniversary with its May 12, 2017, issue. (See the PRESSING QUESTIONS feature in this month’s issue of PRESS PASS Q.)

GED MAGAZINE, based in Long Beach, Calif., has unveiled a new feature, WEHO INSIDER, focusing on events, businesses and community profiles spotlighting West Hollywood.

THE LEATHER JOURNAL, based in Los Angeles, celebrated its 20th anniversary with its May/June 2017 issue.

BRAD LUNA and KRIS EINSENLA founded LUNA+EINSENLA, a strategic media and communications firm based in Washington, D.C., aimed at tackling leading policy and political issues. Luna previously served as communications director for the HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN. Einsenla is the former deputy chief of staff and communications director for Rep. DIANA DEGETT, a Colorado Democrat.

RYN MCCOY is the new editor of PQ, based in Portland, Oregon.

METRO WEEKLY, based in Washington, D.C., entered its 24th year of publication with its May 4, 2017, issue.

PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS participated in Philadelphia Mayor JIM KENNEY’s “Ask Kenny” series on June 16, 2017. Kenney is working with a different media outlet every month to solicit questions. June’s effort focused on PGN and its reader’s concerns. Questions were sent in by email, phone, postal mail, and on social media with the hashtag #AskKenny.

QNOTES, based in Charlotte, N.C., entered its 32nd year of publication with its May 5, 2017, issue. In celebration, Publisher JIM YARBROUGH announced that the newspaper’s first 10 years, a total of 133 issues, were released online in an archival arrangement with the University of North Caroline at Charlotte. Issues from 1997-2016 are expected to be online in the near future.

THE RAINBOW TIMES, based in Boston, has launched a series of events throughout the rest of 2017 to help celebrate its 10th anniversary. First up was a Pride Kick-Off Sunset Cruise on June 23, 2017, departing from Salem, Mass.

THE WASHINGTON BLADE, based in Washington, D.C., staged an exhibit of iconic photographs from its archives at GALLERY 50 in Rehoboth Beach, Del., the weekend of May 19-21, 2017.

THE WINDY CITY TIMES of Chicago was one of the hosts of the CHICAGO EQUALITY RALLY, held on Sunday, June 11, 2017. The rally was held in solidarity with the EQUALITY MARCH FOR UNITY AND PRIDE in Washington, D.C.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 19
Issue 3

Use of word “queer” growing in LGBT news reporting

by Joe Siegel

A recent editorial in Denver’s OutFront magazine has reignited the debate over what word, words or acronym to describe the LGBT community.

Ryan Howe, editor of Colorado magazine, explained in a recent column why the publication started using the word “queer,” which was formerly seen as pejorative.

“For us, ‘queer’ is used as an umbrella term for anyone who identifies as LGBTQ or something other than the heteronormative worldview that promotes heterosexuality as the norm,” Howe wrote. “Being queer means that people are accepted for being themselves. They are celebrated for living authentically to how they want to live and not letting social norms dictate how they navigate our world.” 

This is a historical shift. As Jake Hall of Dazed Digital.com wrote: “American newspapers used ‘queer’ as a derogatory term, using it to highlight the fact that homosexuality was strange and abnormal. 

Interestingly, it was most frequently used to specifically attack effeminate gay men.” Hall explained that the word was “later reclaimed in the midst of the AIDS epidemic and quickly became a symbol of anarchy.”

But according to the Critical Media Project, based at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, the word can also be used “to underscore the fact that gender and sexual orientation are fluid and should not be rigidly categorized. Echoing this sentiment about fluidity, the ‘Q’ in LGBTQ further can indicate a ‘questioning’ or uncertainty about one’s gender, sexuality, or sexual orientation.” 

Although not everyone is happy with the word, LGBT publications have increasingly used the word in their reporting.

“Some people, especially older, don’t like its use, but more people understand that many do like it and seem more accepting of it these days,” said Tracy Baim, editor for the Windy City Times in Chicago.

“We use the word ‘queer’ pretty regularly — in stories and headlines,” said Cynthia Laird, news editor for the Bay Area Reporter in San Francisco. “If someone identifies as queer we go with that. This has been the case for years, although I couldn’t pinpoint when it started. We would talk to people for stories and more seemed to identify as queer — even older people, so we started using it. Before that, we’d use ‘queer’ mostly in stories about queer youth, because that was how they were identifying.”

The Bay Area Reporter also uses LGBT and LGBTQ. “We do not use GLBT unless it is the name of an organization, like our GLBT Historical Society, or someone says it in a direct quote,” Laird noted. “If someone writes GLBT, say in a letter to the editor, I change it to LGBT to be consistent with our style.”

“Some people identify as queer and use the word with intention,” said Troy Masters, editor of the Los Angeles Blade. “If a writer uses it, we let it stand but rarely use it in original reporting unless a subject identifies as queer.”

“South Florida Gay News and The Mirror will use the word ‘queer’ when appropriate, or if it’s the name of something — like ‘Queer as Folk’ or ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ — or if its in a quote from a source,” said editor Jason Parsley.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) describes “queer” as “an adjective used by some people, particularly younger people, whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual (e.g., queer person, queer woman). Typically, for those who identify as queer, the terms lesbian, gay, and bisexual are perceived to be too limiting and/or fraught with cultural connotations they feel don't apply to them. Some people may use queer, or more commonly genderqueer, to describe their gender identity and/or gender expression.”

GLAAD notes that the term “gay community” should be “avoided, as it does not accurately reflect the diversity of the community. Rather, LGBTQ community is preferred.”

TOP STORY
Volume 19
Issue 3

The Advocate celebrates 50th anniversary

by Joe Siegel

The Advocate, the longest running LGBT publication in the country, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The latest issue, number 1091, features covers representing five decades of LGBT history, including the battle for trans rights, the fight for marriage equality, and the work of AIDS activists. 

The magazine has managed to endure despite its share of setbacks and troubles through the years.

The Advocate started its life as the newsletter of Personal Rights in Defense and Education (PRIDE), a gay liberation group formed after police raided the Black Cat bar in Los Angeles.

In the summer of 1967, Richard Mitch (aka Dick Michaels) — a writer for a chemical industry — his partner Bill Rau, and Sam Winston decided to turn the newsletter into a gay newspaper. Known as the Los Angeles Advocate, it debuted in September 1967 with a print run of 500 copies, produced at night in a print shop in the basement of ABC Studios.

In an effort to make the paper more professional, Mitch hired Rob Cole, formerly of the Dallas Times Herald, as news editor. As gay men and lesbians from across the country began to look to the paper for information, Mitch renamed it The Advocate in 1969, and it became the first American gay news publication with a nationwide distribution.

After marketing research suggested the LGBT community had more disposable income than most Americans, The Advocate's advertising revenues rose, rescuing it from the brink of financial ruin.

The Advocate was the only LGBT media outlet to feature interviews with prominent gay and straight politicians, including Barney Frank, Al Gore, Steve Gunderson, John Kerry, and Hillary and Bill Clinton.

Once closeted celebrities were also featured over the years: George Michael, k.d. lang, Bishop Gene Robinson, Martina Navratilova, Chad Allen, Melissa Etheridge, Ellen DeGeneres, and Greg Louganis.

In 1996, the magazine hired its first female editor in chief, Judy Wieder.

The Advocate featured explorations of timely issues including hate crimes, monogamy, sex addiction, bisexuality, gays in sports, gays in the Mormon Church, and the LGBT people affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

These stories “were written by seasoned journalists from a gay perspective that simply couldn’t be duplicated — even when, in the late ‘90s, some of these subjects and celebrities became big-ticket sellers for mainstream media,” Wieder wrote in a 2010 Huffington Post column. “With its harsh features and photos that no advertiser wanted to be anywhere near, the magazine depended on dedicated readers that renewed their costly ($40-plus) subscriptions year after year. For them to do this, the content had to be astonishing. It was unimaginably difficult for a small staff to keep it up every two weeks, but somehow it happened.”

In 2000, The Advocate's parent company, Liberation Publications Inc. (LPI) — which had previously acquired book publisher Alyson Publications — purchased rival magazine Out, as well as HIV Plus. LPI and web company PlanetOut announced plans to merge, prompting critics to warn of an impending LGBT media monopoly. That merger was called off, but in 2005 PlanetOut purchased LPI for $31 million.

Even as PlanetOut faced a financial crisis in early 2007, The Advocate continued to gain new subscribers. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, it came out of the closet, doing away with the "privacy wrap" that had previously covered the magazine.

"The Advocate's decision might seem like a trivial matter, … but it stands for something far greater — the increasing acceptance and visibility of gay people in public life," wrote gay journalist James Kirchick.

The Advocate has drawn plenty of criticism over the years. Many lamented its shift away from militant politics and its increasing emphasis on entertainment and lifestyle content, while others thought the magazine was too commercial and geared to affluent white gay men. 

Diane Anderson-Minshall, the magazine’s current editorial director, noted that The Advocate “has become a voice for the voiceless.”

“For every [attorney] Robbie Kaplan and Edie Windsor [whom Kaplan represented in the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality case], there were literally thousands of couples — and millions of other allies — who helped make marriage equality the law of the land,” Anderson-Minshall said. “Our battles are never begun by us; they are begun on the backs of those who came before us, and they will continue as we pass the torch to the next generation.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 19
Issue 3

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Dallas Voice and OUT North Texas

Interview with Publisher and Co-Owner Leo Cusimano
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: North Texas, more specifically Dallas/Fort Worth. We are distributed to more than 400 distribution locations in five counties, 23 cities and 62 zip codes. 

Year founded: May 1984

Staff size and breakdown (writers, editors, designers, etc.): Leo Cusimano, Publisher and Co-Owner; Terry Thompson, President and Co-Owner; Tammye Nash, Managing Editor; three in Editorial; four in Display Sales; two in Marketplace Sales; two in production; and one in Distribution. 10 full time and two part-time.

Physical dimensions of publication: Tabloid size 10.5” x 11.5”

Average page count: 40 pages

Print run: 15,000 every Friday, readership is 32,000 per issue. We also publish OUT North Texas, an annual glossy magazine that is the official visitors guide for Dallas/Fort Worth.

*****

PPQ: What feature or features of Dallas Voice have been the most popular with readers? 

Publisher and Co-Owner Leo Cusimano: The Life+Style section is always important to our readers. Automotive is our biggest advertising category. We have special sections almost every month. Dining is big in the LGBT community here. Political news also is important.

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

Cusimano: We started as a newspaper, selling only one thing, a print ad. Today we are more than just a newspaper, we have evolved into a media company, selling more than a dozen products. We have had to understand how our readers get their news and have advertising opportunities in each of those places. Our readers turn to us for in-depth, comprehensive coverage — hyper local LGBT news and lifestyle information. 

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Dallas Voice facing now?

Cusimano: For us it is a balance, between delivering in-depth comprehensive coverage to our readers to providing digital services to our advertisers, and staffing both. Like most media outlets today, the challenge we face is engaging our younger demographic. Newspapers are still a strong thread in the fabric of equality, and print is still king in the LGBT community. 

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

Cusimano: I think for me, it was a younger reader’s comment that they love reading the Dallas Voice, because of the changes that they have seen directed at them, like younger voices and more pictures in our Scene feature. 

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

Cusimano: Know your market, know what the market will bear from an advertising perspective, understand your potential reader and how they access information. Get the right staff. Have a vision and a passion for what you what to accomplish. Make gratitude a core value.

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 19
Issue 3