Wednesday, December 13, 2017

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

BOSTON SPIRIT entered its 13th year of publication with its November/December 2017 issue.

DEBRA CHASNOFF, an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker and activist, died November 7, 2017, of metastatic breast cancer. She died at her home in Noe Vally, Calif., where she lived with her spouse, NANCY OTTO. She was 60. Chasnoff won her Oscar in 1992 for Best Documentary Short Subject for her film, “Deadly Deception: General Electric, Nuclear Weapons, and Our Environment.” She made history when she thanked her then-partner KIM KLAUSNER, becoming the first woman to thank a same-sex partner while accepting an Academy Award.

PGN's Jen Colletta
JEN COLLETTA, after 10 years with PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS, is leaving to work as the Montgomery County government’s digital content manager. Colletta started at PGN as a staff writer in 2007 and was promoted to editor in 2012. In her new position, Colletta will orchestrate content for Montgomery County’s website. She will come up with creative storytelling ways to share information with county residents and coordinate social media efforts. PGN is in the process of searching for the next editor and will announce the hiring decision as soon as it is made.

CHARLES SHIVELY, a pivotal figure in the history of the gay liberation movement as well as early gay publications, died October 6, 2017, at the Cambridge Rehabilitation and Nursing Home in Cambridge, Mass. He was 79. An Ohio native, he came to Massachusetts to attend Harvard College, graduating in June 1969, the same time as the Stonewall Riots in New York. In 1970, he worked on the first issue of LAVENDER VISION, a co-gendered gay liberation newspaper. A year later, he helped form the FAG RAG collective, which published the first national post-Stonewall gay political journal. He went on the establish FAG RAG BOOKS, the GOOD GAY POETS, and BOSTON GAY REVIEW. He wrote frequently for GAY COMMUNITY NEWS, GAY SUNSHINE, and THE GUIDE.

DARLENE R. STILLE, an author and editor, died October 28, 2017, of colon cancer. She is survived by her partner of 40 years, CYNTHIA MARQUARD. The couple lived together in Chicago for many years and played instrumental roles in that community. They later moved to New Buffalo, Michigan, which is where she died, at age 75. She began her career as a production editor at Encyclopedia Britannica and went on to edit other encyclopedia and science publications. She wrote more than 150 science and technology children’s books. She also wrote travel articles for Chicago-based OUTLINES newspaper and WINDY CITY TIMES.

WISCONSIN GAZETTE, based in Milwaukee, Wisc., entered its ninth year of publication with its November 16, 2017, issue.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 19
Issue 9

Washington Blade snubbed by White House

by Joe Siegel

The Washington Blade has been given the cold shoulder by the White House and its press secretary.

“Even though I regularly attend the briefings on behalf of the Blade each day they’re held, the last time a White House press secretary called on me during an on-camera news conference was in May,” wrote the Blade’s chief political and White House reporter, Chris Johnson, in an October piece in the Blade headlined, “Why is White House ignoring the Blade.”

Johnson said the last time he had the chance to have a question answered was when Sean Spicer was still serving as press secretary. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who now holds the position, has not been as welcoming.

“Many times during the briefings, I see Sanders look directly at me as I raise my hand for a question, but she nonetheless skips me for another reporter, usually from a conservative, Trump-friendly outlet like Breitbart or Newsmax,” Johnson said, adding that the “White House refuses to take inquiries from the only LGBT publication in the White House at a time when the administration continuously rolls out anti-LGBT policies.”

According to Johnson, “prior to joining the Trump administration, Sanders headed the American Principles Fund, a super PAC with ties to the anti-LGBT National Organization for Marriage that essentially attacked Republican candidates for not being anti-gay enough.”

Blade editor Kevin Naff said Johnson did get to ask a question of Sanders the day after his story ran on the Blade web site. However, Naff noted Johnson is still being ignored.

Naff said Sanders has been contacted about her treatment of Johnson. Sanders told Naff that “it hasn’t been intentional.”

TOP STORY
Volume 19
Issue 9

Out & About Nashville launches Puerto Vallarta publication

by Joe Siegel

A new magazine and website focused on the Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, LGBT community and its visitors has launched.

Out & About Puerto Vallarta (O&APV) will publish its first issue in January 2018. The website, www.outandaboutpv.com is live now.

With a monthly distribution of 5,000 copies, the upscale glossy magazine will feature lifestyle and travel articles focused on the growing LGBT population in Puerto Vallarta, as well as the millions of tourists that visit annually.

The publication will be bilingual in English and Spanish. It will be distributed at hotels, restaurants, bars and other locations throughout Puerto Vallarta, including Old Town.

The magazine is owned by Jerry Jones and Benjamin Camarena Garcia, and is a sister publication to Out & About Nashville, Inc. (O&AN), based in Nashville, Tenn. O&AN is celebrating its 15th year in business and is Tennessee’s largest LGBT publication. (For more about O&AN, see Pressing Questions below.)

“Benjamin and I are excited to be able to start this exciting magazine to keep the growing LGBT population and its visitors in Puerto Vallarta informed and entertained,” Jones said.

Joseph Brant, a longtime O&AN staff member and its current managing digital editor, will serve as the general manager and editor of the new publication.

In addition to overseeing O&APV’s editorial operations, Brant will continue to manage all digital properties including O&AN’s website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and weekly email newsletter.

“I’m excited to share the community-based philosophy of Out & About with members of the LGBT community in Puerto Vallarta," Brant said. "I look forward to learning more from longtime residents, tourists, and community leaders as we build editorial and sales staff.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 19
Issue 9

Oregon’s PQ Monthly shuns print, goes digital

by Fred Kuhr

Portland, Oregon’s PQ Monthly, as well as its sister publications El Hispanic News and Tankside, have ceased publishing print editions and are now “100% digital,” publisher Melanie Davis announced in a letter to readers earlier this month.

She said going all digital will allow her publications to get away from a print business model that she calls “oppressive.”

PQ's Melanie Davis
“Gone are the days of the industry telling us what size and format to print, or dictating to us when they can print our publications, forcing us to revolve around seemingly arbitrary deadlines,” wrote Davis. “… I have served this industry for 32 years collectively, and am done with the system preying on our community’s voices by economically choking us and weighing us down with capitalist censorship. We will no longer subscribe to that oppressive business system. Rather than being broken by that system, we are creating a better one.”

Davis started with local bilingual publication El Hispanic News as a sales representative in 1992. She purchased the publication in 2008. “That was the year the recession hit, and I am happy to say we proved publisher resilience by monetizing and automating online sales and by broadening our intersectional partnerships." Those partnerships included publishing the “Official Pride Guide” for Pride NW, “making sure to include in our marketing budget funds to insert the Pride Guide into other racially diverse publications like The Asian Reporter and The Portland Observer.”

This led to the launch of PQ (which stands for Proud Queer) Monthly, a publication whose mission is to ensure “Every Letter & Every Color is Represented,” in 2012. She then launched Tankside, a mainstream motorcycle magazine. All of her publications are under her Brilliant Media LLC umbrella.

In addition to the news that the publications are going online only, Davis announced that Brilliant Media is in the process of publishing books on an annual basis that that will “reflect each media outlet’s best content. Each book published will have a revenue sharing model built into it that will directly benefit each contributor.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 19
Issue 9

GUEST COMMENTARY: Setting a new bar in LGBT journalism

by Mark Segal
Mark Segal, publisher of Philadelphia Gay News (PGN), is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. His recently published memoir, "And Then I Danced," is available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or at your favorite bookseller.

At the end of my father’s life we’d get together and, when we did, Dad would always say, “So, what was your day like?” or “What have you been doing?” At such times, I’d shrug and say, “Just the same.”

The reality was that my life at that point was full of excitement and efforts to make new gains for our community, but I thought that talking about such work might look like bragging so I didn’t. But that was a big mistake, since my father read about my activities in mainstream newspapers and saw some on TV. I found out later that he’d ask my relatives why I wouldn’t share my pride of accomplishment with him. He wanted bragging rights. In his last few months, he never missed an opportunity to tell me how proud I made him. So since Dad is not here, let me share with you some pride, and you can share in it, like I know he would. 

Mark Segal
Last week was a time when I finally began to realize how far this community has come, through a series of events that individually are amazing — but putting them together is a new benchmark. 

It started last Thursday evening when the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA) presented me its highest honor, the Ben Franklin Award for Excellence, at its 93rd annual convention. This organization represents all newspapers in the state, including dailies and weeklies. The significance of that came as our former editor, Sarah Blazucki, was brought in from D.C. as a surprise to do the introduction. She reminded me, and those publishers sitting in that room, of how PGN had survived the bombing of our vending boxes, the trashing of our offices and even being put on the KKK’s hit list; I had forgotten that last one. Then I took the stage to deliver my speech, which I prepared as a tribute to the power of newspapers. As I read it now, I understand why many people told me afterwards that it was inspirational (I’ve posted the speech on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MarkSegalPGN).

Here’s the main point I made: That same organization that was giving me its highest award wouldn’t allow me to join for almost 10 years because I was a gay man. And there I was, receiving its highest award. That says where we as a community have come from, and also is a nod to LGBT media that “You’re one of us.”

The following morning at the same convention, the PGN staff gathered for the Newspaper of the Year Awards. The honors are awarded by division and circulation, so PGN was competing with almost every weekly in the state. Many are small-town newspapers, other are big-city weeklies. Time and time again, when they announced the awards, the staff of PGN had to stand; we won six divisional awards in total. Then the biggest award.

PNA awards one daily and one weekly as the Newspaper of the Year. The daily award went to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the weekly, Philadelphia Gay News.

Our editor, Jen Colletta, went to the stage to accept. The pride and chills I had, I’ll never be able to express. But what I knew is that LGBT media and PGN had set a new bar.

My thoughts went back to my days when I started this newspaper and was shunned. All I can say to those people is that we not only climbed the ladder, we’re at the very top. I say that not for myself, but as I said when I accepted the Ben Franklin Award, I say it for all those LGBT youth who wonder if they can enter journalism or media management and make it as an out person.

We at PGN are proof you can, and we dedicate these awards to you as encouragement to follow your dreams.

GUEST COMMENTARY
Volume 19
Issue 9

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Out & About Nashville

Interview with Owner & Publisher Jerry Jones and Managing Digital Editor James Grady
by Joe Siegel

Year founded: 2002

Staff size and breakdown (writers, editors, designers, etc.): Two editors (print managing editor and digital managing editor), two designers, three salespeople, a variety of volunteer or contract photographers and writers.

Physical dimensions of publication: 8.5” x 11” glossy

Average page count: 40

Key demographics: 127,000 readers, print and online, with only a 12 percent overlap between the two. Our readership is about evenly split between men and women.

Print run: 10,000

Web site: www.outandaboutnashville.com

*****

PPQ: What feature or features of Out & About Nashville have been the most popular with readers? 

Jones: Anything that hints of controversy has always been popular with our readers. We have a monthly drag queen article that is very popular, and we are seeing an increase in popularity with our coverage of trans issues. 

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

Jones: I came up with the name. I wanted something that was fun, related to the community, and was easy to remember.

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

Jones: We have and continue to face a lot of discrimination. We've come a long ways in 15 years, but it remains challenging. We've received threats, had our outdoor boxes defecated in. We’ve had many times where people will take hundreds of copies from a location and throw them away to prevent other people from getting the issue. We have seen an increase in these events over the past year.

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Out & About Nashville facing now?

Jones: We continue to struggle to be visible to the pharmaceutical industry — Tennessee is ranked 16th in the nation (according to CDC statistics, and the South is ranked highest) with HIV infections, and yet we've only had two HIV pharma-related ads placed with us in the last year. Even less the year before. We have seen no PrEP advertising. We look at other markets and they are flooded with those types of ads. Even markets smaller than ours, and way lower on the CDC list. We are the only LGBT monthly magazine in the market, so what's going on with the lack of attention in our market?  It's been a challenge and continues to be a challenge, not only from an HIV-related education standpoint, but also a financial standpoint.

PPQ: How has Out & About Nashville changed since it was first launched?

Jones: So much! We started as a monthly tabloid with a focus on hard news. We are now a full-fledged glossy magazine, and our news focus has shifted to our digital properties, and our monthly print edition is now more lifestyles and community focused.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make? 

Jones: We'd like to hire more staff to spend time on video projects and some other digital ideas.  

PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories Out & About Nashville has covered?

Grady:  As far as biggest stories in terms of pure numbers, our stories about Stacey Campfield (an anti-LGBT former state senator), Men’s Social Club, the minister Robbie Gallaty, and Chris Carmack from the show “Nashville” have had the most impact in terms of readers reached. Many of these stories still show up as top performers years after hitting the web.

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

Jones: It's a 6. We often tell new staff members, if it's not local and not gay, or doesn't have gay ties, we aren't going to run it.

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

Jones: No. We try to cover things as fairly as we can and, unlike so many publications in the LGBT community, our origins are not activist related. We started as a way to provide a professional journalistic-based publication for our community.

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

Grady: From a personal perspective, two different pieces of feedback really struck a chord with me. When I tried to write a nuanced piece arguing that criticism of a local minister’s words missed the mark and went overboard, even though I was still critical, I received a lot of hate mail from LGBT community members. On the other hand, I received a good bit of mail from members of his church acknowledging that we won’t agree but thanked me for offering a detailed reading of what he actually said. 
The other piece of feedback that struck me was after a really short editorial that was kind of an afterthought: in that piece I talked about my identification as involving some degree of bisexuality. After that piece I received a few letters thanking me for being courageous — which I don’t think I was — and for being willing to represent bisexuality openly in a community that often treats it with mistrust. This was another eye-opener for me.

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

Jones:  Don't do it if you think you're going to make a lot of money.  The competition is fierce for ad dollars, and the challenges to succeed are many. If you do decide to do it, be well funded and watch your cash flow. Look to see what's not being done in a market and create a niche for yourself.

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 19
Issue 9

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