FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jeffrey S. Garber OpusComm Group, Inc. 315 Highland Ave. Syracuse, NY 13203 315.422.6250 email@example.com www.opuscommgroup.com Gay Purchasing Power a Significant Force, Major Study Reveals Syracuse, New York - October 14, 2001 -- The median combined household income of gay couples is $65,000, nearly 60 percent higher than the 1999 U.S. median income of $40,800, a first-of- its-kind study reveals. Advertisers are taking notice. "We've always surmised that gay purchasing power is a force to be reckoned with," says Jeffrey Garber, founder of the project study. "What was needed was a yardstick to accurately measure the impact of gay and lesbian consumerism." Garber, president of OpusComm Group, Inc., in conjunction with the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University and media/entertainment company GSociety, Inc., has developed the first comprehensive and in-depth census of the economics and buying habits of the gay and lesbian market. The Internet-based census was designed to poll gay men and lesbians about their education, jobs, spending practices, and politics, and make that information available to advertisers. "Gay men and lesbians collectively are an important consumer constituency," according to Garber. "The 2001 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census will become one of the primary tools used to educate mainstream advertisers about this unique and widely ignored niche market." "A few major corporations are beginning to reap the rewards as pioneers in this market," says Syracuse University Professor Amy Falkner, expert in targeted advertising and how different groups use the Internet. "Gay and lesbian advertising is moving "out of the closet" and into the mainstream market." Nearly 6,000 U.S. respondents completed the 40 minute long census. The study reveals a significantly higher median income for gay households than the U.S. median. More than a fifth of respondents reported a total combined income of $100,000 or more. Nearly 60 percent of gay male households and 46 percent of lesbian households showed a combined income in excess of $60,000. "This means well-heeled gay and lesbian couples, sharing two incomes and generally without the expense of raising children (13 percent of Gay/Lesbian couples have children under 18 years of age living at home), can plan to be actively courted in the near future by industry and services anxious to open up this "new" market," says Falkner. In findings destined to change the way advertisers cozy up to the affluent gay and lesbian market, the study reveals a strong tendency among this group to buy products or services from companies they know to be gay-friendly. "You'll be seeing many more large corporations "coming out" as friendly to gays, once they see what a positive image in the gay community can do for sales," explains Cary Gilbert, president of gay entertainment/media company GSociety, Inc. "It isn't being deceptive or devious on the company's part. Instead it's a matter of taking the opportunity to be open and positive about their policies and goals concerning the gay population. That recognizing gay clients has a positive effect on the bottom line is a side benefit -- and a compelling one." Nearly 9 out of 10 census respondents are registered voters, and 79.8 percent of them voted in the 2000 presidential election, as compared to 49 percent of the general public who voted in the 1996 election, according to the Clerk of the U.S. Congress. The great majority -- 68.8 percent -- are registered Democrats. "Money talks, the same in politics as in business," Garber says. "As the gay and lesbian economic power base becomes more widely recognized, we are sure to see many subtle and not-so-subtle changes in the way the gay population is courted." The Census is the combined effort of three partners: OpusComm Group Inc., (Founder of the 2001 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census Partnership) The founders of the OpusComm Group have been providing exciting and effective marketing, public relations and advertising to a broad range of clients from Fortune 500 to small businesses for over sixteen years. Now, as one of the world's leading researchers in Gay/Lesbian consumerism, we provide the strategy that can guide you through implementation with unparalleled knowledge to reach untapped markets. Our strength is in consultation with community sensitivity in the market planning and execution for all types of mainstream advertisers to target the gay/lesbian community. www.opuscommgroup.com The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University - As one of the world's leading academic and research institutions in the field of communications, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University is leading the development of the Census. www.syracuse.edu GSociety, Inc. - A media/entertainment company whose reach and distribution channels target the millions of gay and lesbian consumers Media Sponsors: Advocate, Axess Promotions, Curve Magazine, Express, Gay Crawler, Instinct, Joey Magazine, metroG, Proud Parenting, and She Magazine For further information contact Jeffrey Garber, president, OpusComm Group, at (315)422-6250 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Full highlights of this study on Income, Politics, Consumer Behavior, Media habits, Relationships and other findings as well as methodology are available at www.glcensus.org ### IMPORTANT NOTICE: IN GRANTING BROADCAST/PRINT PERMISSION TO PUBLICIZE ANY/OR ALL PORTIONS OF "2001 GAY/LESBIAN CONSUMER ONLINE CENSUS" INFORMATION PROVIDED.: You are authorized to quote from this report only if credited as follows: "A Syracuse University, OpusComm Group, GSociety Study". You may also want to add: "For more information please visit http://www.glcensus.org" ---------------------------------------------------------------GAYBC.COM Web Radio Is Gone
(GLINN, 10-08-01)-- The gaybc.com web radio website has disappeared. It has been reported that the company operating the site has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is liquidation. Other web sites operated by the company are also gone.
Another gay oriented web radio station is also reportedly shut down. More information will be posted when it becomes available.
TRIANGLE TELEVISION NETWORK SCAMS AGAIN
(GLINN, 10-08-01)--- In a previous news story, GLINN reported that Triangle Multi-Media, Inc., the operators of the Triangle Television Network are running a stock scam and that the company is operating in California illegally. We previously exposed their national advertising campaign as a fraud. Triangle claimed a contract with the DISH Network and advertised this in their full page newspaper ads, on the web and in news releases. This was a total fraud. They did not have and never had a contract with DISH.
Later, apparently they did work out a contract but never made the payments required under the contract, thus it never went into effect.
Triangle advertised they were launching on September 5 and claimed they were broadcasting a signal via C-Band satellite. No source could verify they were transmitting. Later reports indicated they transmitted for 3 hours. The host of their "Good Morning Gay America" show removed TTN information from his web site and has posted his resume.
This stock has been the subject of paid manipulation, and has been pumped by paid promoters who have posted numerous lies and misleading statements in various public forums.
Although Triangle has issued numerous press releases, they have not followed through on a single one and have never successfully accomplished any of their claims. We view Triangle as a complete stock fraud and swindle. There are reports that it is being investigated by the California Attorney General which is considering both civil and criminal prosecution.
NLGJA Receives $100,000 Grant from Gill Foundation Washington, D.C. (June 1, 2001) -- The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) today announced a landmark grant from the Gill Foundation to be made over the next two years for $100,000. A majority of the grant funds ($70,000) are dedicated towards NLGJA general operating funds, while the balance of $30,000 has been presented as a challenge grant - intended to encourage new donations to the association. According to Pamela Strother, NLGJA executive director, the gift is not the first from the Gill Foundation, which has supported the association with significant grants since 1995. This grant represents Gill's largest contribution to NLGJA in the association's decade-long history and also equals the groundbreaking grant made last year by The Ford Foundation to establish the NLGJA leadership training program. Strother added, "This inspiring gift will be vital to the successful kick-off of our three-year strategic plan beginning next January. We could not be more grateful to Tim Gill and the Gill Foundation." Dallas Morning News National Economics Correspondent Robert Dodge, who also serves as the President of the NLGJA Board, added that "the Gill matching grant is especially timely because it will spur new funders and contributors to rise to the occasion. This is a meaningful new investment in NLGJA as we enter our second decade, and to accelerate our mission on behalf of all LGBT journalists, and to mentor student journalists." The Gill Foundation was founded in 1994 by Tim Gill, the founder and former chairman and chief technology officer of Quark, Inc., a Denver-based computer software company. In seven years, Mr. Gill and the Foundation have donated more than $21 million dollars to hundreds of organizations and programs serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community and people living with HIV/AIDS. The Gill Foundation's headquarters are located in Denver, CO. NLGJA, founded in 1990, is the sole organization that works from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of lesbian and gay issues and opposes newsroom bias against all minorities. NLGJA currently has over 1,100 members with 20 chapters in the US and international affiliates. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NLGJA provides networking and mentorship opportunities for media professionals and communications/journalism students on the local, national and international levels. - 30 - Contacts: Pamela Strother, NLGJA Executive Director 202-588-9888 email@example.com www.nlgja.org Robert Dodge, NLGJA National President 202-661-8414 firstname.lastname@example.org For Immediate Release May 28, 2001 Los Angeles, CA - test About Hyperion Interactive Media: Founded in May 2001 by Matthew Skallerud, the original founder of one of the leading gay & lesbian Internet sites online, Gay Wired. Believing that the true formula for both short-term and long-term success for gay & lesbian online media companies is reliable growth income in online advertising and e-commerce sales, the mission of Hyperion Interactive Media is to bring these income opportunities, along with Hyperion's experience and the tools for implementation, to gay and lesbian online media companies worldwide. -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_ Contact Information: Hyperion Interactive Media Matt Skallerud 955 N. Vista St. Los Angeles, CA 90046 [voice] (323) 512-2922 [fax] (323) 512-2922 email@example.com Contact: Eric May, (202) 223-0554 Emay@window-media.com WINDOW MEDIA PURCHASES WASHINGTON BLADE AND NEW YORK BLADE NEWS Acquisition Creates Largest Gay and Lesbian Newspaper Group WASHINGTON -- Window Media LLC announced today its pending acquisition of the Washington Blade and the New York Blade News, two of the nation's premier lesbian and gay newspapers, making it the world's largest gay newspaper group. Window Media entered into an agreement March 23 to purchase Washington Blade, Inc., which owns and operates the two newspapers. The purchase is expected to be competed by March 30, 2001. "We are honored and excited to steward these respected institutions," said William Waybourn, president of Window Media. "We hope to build upon their historic community roles, while bringing new energy to their operations and expanding their capabilities." Founded in 1969, the Washington Blade (www.washingtonblade.com) is the nation's most respected and longest continuously published gay newspaper. Originally published as a single sheet and distributed by hand to patrons of area bars, the paper now averages more than 100 pages each week. In October 1997, its publisher launched the New York Blade News (www.nyblade.com) to provide comprehensive coverage of news and events of interest to metropolitan New York's gay and lesbian community. The papers have a combined weekly readership of more than 200,000. "We are confident that Window Media will take these newspapers in a direction that is consistent with their long-held mission to serve the gay community through professional journalism," said Don Michaels, publisher of the Washington and New York newspapers. "With the advantages that come from combining operations, Window Media will be able to serve readers in new and important ways." Founded in 1997 by Waybourn and Chris Crain, the company's editorial director and chief operating officer, Window Media publishes Atlanta-based Southern Voice (www.sovo.com), the nation's largest gay and lesbian newspaper with editions covering Georgia, the Mid-South, and New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Southern Voice was named the country's best gay weekly in the 1997-98 and 1999 Vice Versa Awards for Excellence in the Gay & Lesbian Press. Window Media also publishes the Houston Voice (www.houstonvoice.com); Eclipse (www.eclipse-mag.com), a nightlife guide for gay Atlanta, New Orleans and Texas; and SOVO magazine (www.sovomag.com), a glossy quarterly publication exploring fashion, entertainment and human-interest topics in gay Atlanta. The company's existing publications reach a combined weekly readership of more than 200,000. "The addition of the Washington Blade and the New York Blade News will bring a rich pool of resources to our newsgathering operation, enabling us to cover issues important to gay readers in ways no media company ever has before," said Crain. "Our more than two dozen, full-time professional journalists will work together to shed new light on the treatment of gays within society's mainstream institutions, as well as on the cultural forces shaping our community and our movement. Our opinion pages will serve as an ongoing virtual town hall meeting, giving voice to the widest possible array of perspectives." "The powerful combination of these quality gay and lesbian publications comes at a time when gay-owned businesses are steadily gaining a place at the business table," added Kelly Smink, chief financial officer for Window Media. "By reaching almost a half-million readers each and every week, in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and throughout Texas and the South, Window Media publications provide an effective way for local and national advertisers to reach lesbian and gay consumers." Ansley Securities LLC, with offices in Atlanta and Chicago, acted as Window Media's exclusive financial advisor for this transaction. For more information about Window Media or any of its publications, visit www.window-media.com. ### ******************************** Eric J. May Corporate Marketing Manager Window Media LLC (202) 223-0554 (202) 223-0558 (fax) Date: January 29, 2001 -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- RIVENDELL MARKETING BUYS PRESS PASS Q; VICE VERSA AWARDS, PRESS SUMMIT PUT ON HOLD (SAN DIEGO) - Q Syndicate, publisher of Press Pass Q and organizer of the Vice Versa Awards and the Gay and Lesbian Press Summit, has sold the newsletter and has put the other projects on hold in hopes of transferring them to a future association of gay publications. Last week, Q Syndicate Publisher David Bianco signed a contract selling Press Pass Q to gay press marketing representative firm Rivendell Marketing for an undisclosed sum. Q Syndicate will work with Rivendell to continue to produce the newsletter for the next six months, and as of July 2001, Rivendell will produce the newsletter on its own. As for San Diego-based Q Syndicate, the organization will focus on its other major role, providing syndicated content to gay and lesbian publications and Web sites. "I'm very proud of the community organizing we've done for the gay and lesbian press industry, but I've decided to refocus Q Syndicate on its primary role of being a one-stop shop for publications looking for gay content," Bianco said. "Fortunately, in the case of all three of these projects others have stepped forward to continue the work we began." Bianco mentioned he was confident Rivendell would continue to make Press Pass Q an important forum for editorial and business discussions about the gay and lesbian press. "Both of our organizations play a key role in working with virtually ever player in this industry," he said. "We're the largest content provider and Rivendell is the largest advertising provider to the gay and lesbian press." Todd Evans, President and CEO of New Jersey-based Rivendell Marketing, indicated he was excited about the newsletter. "Press Pass Q serves as an additional means of communication to those involved in gay and lesbian media," he said. "Having worked with this medium for a considerable period, I can safely say that the industry is dynamic in terms of change and Press Pass Q is a great way to communicate and better inform the professionals connected with this industry." In addition, the Vice Versa Awards and Gay and Lesbian Press Summit are canceled for 2001, but may return next year, Bianco said. "Frankly, these are projects that were always awkward to have a newspaper syndicate coordinating," Bianco said. "There should be a gay press association in which the publishers themselves organize and coordinate awards, conferences, and other community-building activities." Frontiers Publisher David Gardner and Between the Lines Publisher Susan Horowitz are in the process of putting together a committee to plan a future such association. Publishers interested in participating in these conversations should contact the two of them by E-mailing DGardner@aol.com and PridePblis@aol.com. Their effort, if successful, would not represent the first such organization; a Gay and Lesbian Press Association organized its own conferences, newsletters, and awards in the 1980s and early 1990s but later dissolved. Gardner and Horowitz say they hope to work with other publishers to create a non-profit umbrella organization to serve the North American gay and lesbian press. Bianco has agreed to transfer the Vice Versa Awards and the Gay and Lesbian Press Summit to such an organization should it wish to take them over. The Vice Versa Awards were started by Bianco in 1997 to recognize and reward quality writing, production, and artistry within the gay and lesbian press. At ceremonies in Las Vegas in 1998 and Washington, D.C., last year, dozens of awards were given out ranging from Best Editorial to Best Publication. The Gay and Lesbian Press Summit premiered last year, coinciding with the Millennium March on Washington, as an outlet for gay and lesbian press professionals to meet and discuss strategies for success. More than 200 people participated in last year's event. Bianco said he looked forward to seeing a non-profit organization form to serve some of the roles Q Syndicate had played. "I tried very hard to keep The Queue, the employment newsletter started as a monthly supplement to Press Pass Q, will still be published by Q Syndicate. As part of the sale of the newsletter, Rivendell and Q Syndicate agreed to share lists so subscribers to Press Pass Q will continue to receive the Queue and vice versa. Q Syndicate was founded in 1995, and now distributes a dozen columns and features to more than a hundred newspapers, magazines, and Web sites worldwide. Rivendell Marketing, a gay and lesbian media placement and advertising representative company, was founded in 1979 to make it easy for national companies to advertise in gay and lesbian media. Today, Rivendell Marketing represents approximately 200 gay and lesbian publications in North America and works with almost every major advertising agency. Contacts: Rivendell Marketing Todd Evans, President firstname.lastname@example.org P.O. Box 518 Westfield, NJ 07091-0518 908-232-2021 908-232-0521 Q Syndicate David Bianco, Publisher QSyndicate@aol.com P.O Box 33668 San Diego, CA 92103 888-383-7911 San Francisco Chronicle [San Francisco, CA] February 1, 2001 San Francisco firm also adds Web site, charges for Net ads By Dan Fost While PlanetOut consolidates its position as the queen of the gay media world, the San Francisco company is coming under increasing criticism for what some perceive to be monopolistic practices. Some gay journalists and activists have called for a federal antitrust investigation into PlanetOut's proposed merger with Online Partners, the owner of Gay.com, the second-largest gay-1riented Web site. The activists also complain that, with PlanetOut's pending acquisition of the two largest gay-oriented magazines, the Advocate and Out, too many influential media outlets will be concentrated in too few hands. Their concern was heightened last week when PlanetOut said it would start charging for enhanced features with its online personal ads. Even though the basic ads will remain free, the company's critics fear that the move is a harbinger of future charges once its hold on the gay media is cemented. "This looks like an amazing concentration of gay media," said Henry Scott of New York, the former president of Out magazine. "Where is there going to be this world of different voices?" Scott sent an e-mail to 200 people, urging them to ask the federal government to investigate the antitrust implications of the PlanetOut-Gay.com merger. Such an investigation is probably unlikely on several grounds. For one thing, the new Bush administration will probably not be as aggressive in prosecuting antitrust cases as was the Clinton administration. In addition, even with the merger, PlanetOut and Gay.com claim their Web sites would reach 3.5 million unique users each month -- but that's only a fraction of a vast gay market, much of which is still closeted and uncounted. According to Rosanne Siino, PlanetOut's vice president of corporate communications, polls put the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population in the United States at 17 million people. Even if the newly merged PlanetOut Partners reaches 20 percent of that market, as claimed, "We're not by any stretch of imagination capturing this market," Siino said. "Lots of people can emerge to be as big. We hope not, but there are not lots of barriers to that happening." William J. Baer, an attorney with Arnold and Porter in Washington, D.C., and the former chief of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Competition, said antitrust investigators would probably ask several key questions in any inquiry: -- Will the acquisitions give one company near exclusive control of editorial content and advertising revenues for specific groups of people? -- How costly would it be for an alternative to start up? -- Were these businesses failing? Would they go out of business if they were not allowed to merge? Would there be other buyers? Harlan Levinson of Los Angeles, a merger opponent, doubts regulators would find answers that favor stopping the marriage. "I wish writing to the FTC might actually do something," he said in an e-mail. "If they are not going to keep Mobil and Exxon or Time Warner and AOL apart, do you really think that they will care about small potatoes like (PlanetOut) and Gay.com?" Neither PlanetOut nor Gay.com is even profitable. How can they be accused of wielding monopoly power if they can't operate in the black? PlanetOut Chief Executive Officer Megan Smith said the consolidation is necessary for the company to grow and achieve profitability. She said between them, PlanetOut and Gay.com have spent about $60 million. "Anyone is welcome to put their capital in and build the brand they want. It's fine. We're open to that," Smith said. "It doesn't make sense to criticize people for doing it. If they want to compete with it, get out there and build it." One backdrop to the PlanetOut debate is the debacle of Australia's Satellite Group, a gay media and real estate company that went public last year, only to end up in receivership with seven gay publications shuttered. To someone like Jim Provenzano of San Francisco, a freelance writer and former PlanetOut staffer, the lesson of Satellite is that one company should not control so many publications. "The collapse of Australia's gay media may serve as a harbinger of the media blackout that could happen if financial truths are belatedly faced by the U.S. version," Provenzano said. To Smith at PlanetOut, however, Satellite's failure proves just the opposite: "We have no desire to go the way of Satellite media in Australia. We want to make a strong, profitable company." In pursuit of profits, PlanetOut -- like many other Internet content companies -- is looking for ways to charge its customers. That's where the charges for the new personal ad features come into play. The charges will run $9.95 per month, or $29.95 for a full year, for such features as an advanced search agent, e-mail notification, blocking of certain personals and access to thumbnail photos. Access to personal ads without those features will remain free. Smith said it's not as if the company "did a bait-and-switch and took a totally free product and started charging." Smith meets the critics head-on, suggesting that Scott in particular might have an ax to grind because he tried to buy Out. It was later sold to Liberation Publications, publisher of the Advocate, and then PlanetOut announced its intention to buy Liberation. The deal to acquire the magazines was announced last March, but still hasn't closed. Smith said the terms are being renegotiated because changes in the market have changed the value of each company, and most of the deal is in stock. The merger with Gay.com's parent Online Partners was announced in November and has been approved by the two companies' boards of directors, Smith said. It is awaiting approval from state government. Two specific incidents have incited PlanetOut's antagonists in recent months. One was a spat between prominent gay journalist Andrew Sullivan and the Advocate. The other involved the Advocate's and PlanetOut's sponsorship and coverage of a large march in Washington, D.C. Sullivan, a conservative, publicly ripped the Advocate for an interview it published with then-President Clinton at a time when Sullivan was talking to editors about contributing to the magazine. His heated criticism led Advocate editor Judy Wieder to decide not to publish any of Sullivan's work. "I said we need to give it time," Wieder said. "If we have Andrew write while he's tearing down the Advocate, it makes it look like we agree with his point of view." Sullivan accused the magazine of banning him, but Wieder insists her decision was temporary. Now that things have cooled down, Wieder said, "I would be delighted to have Andrew write for the Advocate anytime." Still, Sullivan said in an e-mail, "I haven't been told yet whether the ban on my stuff has yet been lifted from the Advocate and Out. You'd better ask the censors." Sullivan also said to count him among the critics of the gay media consolidation. "I think the consolidation of gay media into one huge blob is deeply disturbing," he wrote. "There's also a chilling liberal monopoly at PlanetOut. . . . You can find virtually no independent or conservative voices in the mix -- just the usual chorus of leftist whining and Democratic Party apologists. "I thought it would be hard for the gay media to get much worse, but this monopoly is a truly depressing development. And where are all the media- skeptical left-wingers who would usually protest such a concentration of power? Oh, they're all working for PlanetOut." Wieder and Smith denied the allegations, saying it's crucial that the magazines and the Web sites keep a diversity of voices. "As editorial director, it's important to me that individual properties or Web sites have their own personalities, like personalities of your children," Wieder said. "The idea that it would somehow all get homogenized and lose its competition and its edge -- I don't think that would work." Wieder also defended the magazine from criticism that it didn't aggressively cover the failings of the Millennium March, a large gay pride gathering last April in Washington, D.C., because it was a sponsor of the event. In the aftermath of the march, thousands of dollars are missing and the FBI is investigating. Bill Dobbs, a gay activist and attorney in New York, said, "The Millennium March mess taught many of us how the (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) community media is not doing its job. These mergers ought to raise lots of red flags because a minority community is very vulnerable to media manipulation of information." But Wieder said the magazine has been among the most forceful critics of the march. "We got criticism from people sponsoring the march, that they could have used less bite from us," she said. Media Bytes appears every Thursday in The Chronicle. Send buzz, dirt, tips and comments to email@example.com. (c)2001 San Francisco Chronicle Page B1 HERO Press Release - http://www.heromag.com For Immediate Release Sept. 29, 2000 Contact: Joe Whitmore, 310-360-8022 ext. 16 Website: http://www.heromag.com HERO MAGAZINE ANNOUNCES FREQUENCY INCREASE Leading Gay Men's Publication goes monthly beginning with October 2000 issue LOS ANGELES--HERO Magazine will increase its frequency from 6 to 10 issues per year, beginning with its October issue. The announcement was made today by Paul Horne, CEO and Editorial Director. The 10 issues will include two double issues, Spring and Fall Fashion Guides, the Annual Gay Wedding Guide, and the award-winning Most Eligible Bachelors issue. "Our readers have been begging us to go monthly since we launched HERO," says Horne. "We're happy that it's become a reality." In the first 3 quarters of this year, HERO increased its circulation from 30,000 to 65,000, and this number is expected to pass 100,000 within 6 months. Single copy sales during this period rose 126%. On the advertising front, HERO is up 30% in ad pages over last year with significant increases from a wide range of lifestyle categories including fashion, finance, travel, and technology. Last month, HERO secured an exclusive bid as the Official U.S. magazine partner for the Gay Games, Sydney 2002. "Readers and advertisers are clearly responding to HERO's editorial product," Horne says. "Our frequency change will allow us to deliver more of what our readers want, and also give our advertisers a greater opportunity to reach this highly desirable group of affluent, gay male consumers." ABOUT HERO MAGAZINE In only two years, HERO has become the largest magazine in the U.S. for gay men, with a readership of more than 200,000. Circulation for the September Wedding Guide alone was 75,000. The magazine's mainstream approach to gay life has won advertisers like Merck & Co., Anheuser-Busch, and Kraft Foods. In its May issue, Library Journal named HERO "One of the Ten Best New Magazines of 1999" alongside mainstream titles like Code, eBay, and Talk. In the last 30 days, HERO has been featured on ABC News, 20/20, and National Public Radio. HERO is based in Los Angeles with offices in New York. To receive a free trial issue, send an email with your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org. PRESS RELEASE Maximum Profile Group 1960 N. Clybourn Chicago, IL 60614 Contact: Andrew Arden Hayes, 773-435-1250 GAY OWNED CHICAGO FIRM SELECTED TO PROMOTE MIDWEST GAY & LESBIAN EXPO 2001 CHICAGO, IL - September 29, 2000 - Maximum Profile Group, a gay owned and operated public relations and marketing firm was recently awarded the contract to handle the sponsorship, marketing and public relations for the Midwest Gay & Lesbian Expo 2001 to be held Labor Day weekend, 2001, at Chicago's famed, Navy Pier. Maximum Profile Group principals, Tony Abruscato and Andrew Hayes, say plans include a business, cultural and educational exposition, speakers, seminars, job fair, entertainment and assorted special events. "The Expo is intended to create opportunities for networking links between individuals, organizations, and businesses," Abruscato explained. One of the reasons why Maximum Profile Group was chosen is that they have served as a link between corporate America and gay consumers for a number of years, securing sponsorship and promoting gay events. Among their list of clients include the Northalsted Market Days (the Midwest's largest gay outdoor event), AIDS Walk Chicago, and numerous gay owned businesses. "Gay consumers are coming out of the closet, and all signs indicate that our market is growing," Hayes added. "The same-sex marriage and gays-in-the-military debates, as well positive general public acceptance of gay characters in an Emmy-award winning TV show like "Will & Grace" continue to force mainstream America to talk about the reality and power of our community. Our company is gay owned and operated, so we know personally the sensitivities that corporate America needs to understand in order to reach us and meet our needs, whether male, female, single, coupled, parenting, etc.," he said. Abruscato and Hayes add that tremendous opportunities to reach this growing market exist for individuals, businesses and corporations, whether gay or straight, in the 2001 Expo. For more information about Maximum Profile Group or the Expo, call 773-435-1250. # # # ___________________________________________ Andrew Arden Hayes Maximum Profile Group Marketing, Public Relations & Business Planning 1960 North Clybourn Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60614 773-435-1250 email@example.com Contact: Steve Friess FRIESSTER@AOL.COM 561-243-6636 NLGJA ANNOUNCES JOURNALISM AWARD RECIPIENTS JOURNALISTS HONORED FOR GAY-RELATED MEDIA COVERAGE WASHINGTON September 19, 2000 - The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) (tm) announces the recipients of its 2000 Excellence in Journalism Awards, a program that rewards five $1,000 prizes for the year's best work in gay-related journalism. Established in 1993 to foster, recognize and reward excellence in journalism on issues related to the gay and lesbian community, the awards consist of five categories: Internet and/or New Media, Written Opinion/Editorial, Written News/Feature, Audio/Radio Reporting, and Video/TV Reporting. "We received nearly 200 applicants in all five categories. That almost triples the number of applicants from 1999," said Steve Friess, NLGJA Board Member and staff writer at the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida. "With the addition of the new category Internet and/or New Media, and the splitting of the written journalism awards into Written Opinion/Editorial and Written News/Feature, we saw a drastic increase in the number of applicants we received." 2000 NLGJA Excellence in Journalism Awards winners include: Internet and/or New Media - Gay.com Gay.com engages every facet of gay and lesbian life, from daily news and relationship advice, to tax tips and gay film reviews. The consistent, daily delivery of information and interactive content makes Gay.com stand out in the online world. Sponsored by Working Assets, Inc., the Internet and/or New Media Award honors the innovative use of the internet and other New Media formats that deliver content to the public on gay and lesbian issues. Written News/Feature - Newsweek Magazine's "Gay Today" April Special Issue Newsweek Magazine, and a team led by John Leland, was honored for their groundbreaking April special issue called "Gay Today," for its breadth and depth of this series, which contained page after page of profiles of average gay Americans. The issue represented a landmark in mainstream coverage of gay issues. Second place went to Peter Cassels of Bay Windows in Boston for his story on Corey Johnson, a now-famous gay high school student who is also captain of his football team. The story was told so far and wide after Cassels reported it - from the NY Times to 20/20 - that one judge had to remind another that Cassels had the story earlier. Third place went to Fred Contrada, a reporter at the Union-News/Sunday Republican in Springfield, MA for "Raid cast light on secret lives." Written Opinion/Editorial - Rhonda Chriss Lokeman, Kansas City Star Lokeman is a member of the Kansas City Star's editorial board. Her entries included columns on Matthew Shepard, the gay pride parade and Jerry Falwell's meeting with gay Christians. One judge called her "the Frank Rich of Kansas City" for her breezy writing and deft logic. Second place went to Jack Cheevers, writer for New Times LA, for a set of columns that included commentary on the Knight Initiative and scandals in the LAPD. Third place went to Michael Alvear, for his work on "Slouching Through Sodom," a column for the Southern Voice, a gay paper in Atlanta. His two-part piece was called "Standing Up to Hate Means Coming Out Again" and "A Lesson in Self-Defense Against Prejudice." Audio/Radio Reporting - Lynn Neary & Loretta Williams of NPR In the radio/audio competition, sponsored by the Seigenthaler Foundation, the judges selected an explanatory National Public Radio report on the origin and theories about homosexuality by Lynn Neary and Loretta Williams of NPR's Los Angeles bureau. Honorable mentions went to a piece from KUMN-FM in Albuquerque, New Mexico on transgender people called "Crossing Boundaries: The Transgender Experience" by Gloria C. Carol and a collage of NPR reports on Vermont civil unions by Steve Young. Video/TV Reporting - "Dana's Metamorphosis" by Jodi Hernandez, KOVR-TV Reporter Jodi Hernandez and photojournalist Cyndy Green of KOVR-TV, a CBS affiliate in Sacramento, CA, won for their work on "Dana's Metamorphosis," about a male-to-female transgender person's journey. Judges said the pair used "an even-handed manner, without sensationalism or sentimentality." About NLGJA The NLGJA, founded in 1990, is the sole professional society of journalists working within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of lesbian and gay issues and oppose newsroom bias against lesbians, gay men and all other minorities. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NLGJA currently has over 1,000 members and 19 chapters in the US with affiliates in Canada and Germany. More information about NLGJA and the 10th anniversary convention is available at www.nlgja.org. About Working Assets, Inc. Working Assets, Inc., is a long distance, credit card, Internet services and broadcasting company that donates a portion of its revenue to progressive nonprofits. The company celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2000 by reaching $20-million in donations to organizations working for social change, and aims to raise another $5-million for nonprofits this year. For more information on Working Assets, please visit their URL at www.workingassets.com. John Seigenthaler founded The First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University in 1991 with the mission of creating national discussion, dialogue and debate about First Amendment values. A former president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Seigenthaler served for 43 years as an award-winning journalist for The Tennessean, Nashville's morning newspaper. He began his career in 1949 as a cub reporter and at his retirement was editor, publisher and CEO of the paper. He retains the title Chairman Emeritus of The Tennessean. In September 1982, Seigenthaler became founding editorial director of USA TODAY and served in that position for a decade, retiring from both the Nashville and national newspapers in 1991. ### CONTACT: Steve Friess, FRIESSTER@AOL.COM OR 561-243-6636 September 8, 2000 THE NEW WINDY CITY TIMES PUBLISHES SEPT. 20 CHICAGO - Windy City Times, Chicago's most established gay and lesbian newsweekly, is being sold to Lambda Publications, Inc., and the first edition of the new Windy City Times will be on the streets Wed., Sept. 20, 2000. Lambda Publications is publisher of Outlines newspaper, a weekly gay and lesbian newspaper serving Chicago since 1987. Lambda was founded by Tracy Baim, who was also the founding managing editor of Windy City Times in 1985. Baim will become Publisher and Managing Editor of Windy City Times. Windy City Times and Outlines, both award-winning newsweeklies with local and national awards for hard-hitting journalism and comprehensive news and entertainment coverage of the diverse gay and lesbian community, will now be published under the banner "Windy City Times." Outlines will become a section within Windy City Times, focusing on viewpoints, essays, family issues and features. Windy City Times is among the most award-winning and nationally recognized leaders in the gay and lesbian press. Windy City Times has achieved unprecedented success in marketing and advertising, and it was the first local gay publication to effectively demonstrate the attractiveness of the gay market to mainstream business. Advertising clients include national and local agencies representing a wide spectrum of businesses and products, as well as major Chicago retailers, banks, theatres and other organizations. Windy City Times is the only Chicago gay paper with audited demographics, done by Simmons Market Research Bureau, Inc Outlines and its publisher, Tracy Baim, have received dozens of awards locally and nationally for their approach to covering all aspects of gay lives. Lambda Publications will continue to publish its other popular titles as separate publications: Nightlines weekly, a bar and entertainment guide; BLACKlines, a monthly newspaper for the black gay community; En La Vida monthly for Latino lesbians and gays; OUT! Resource Guide, the city's oldest gay guide; and CLOUT! Business Report, a quarterly business-to-business magazine for gay businesses. "I am very excited about the opportunities presented with the merger of these two publications," said Tracy Baim, who has been named to the Crain's Chicago Business "40 Under 40" and who was inducted into Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame at age 32-at the time she was the youngest person to be inducted. Baim also received more awards presented by Q Syndicate in 2000 than any other journalist in the gay media. Lambda Publications and Outlines are especially known for sponsoring dozens of community events each year, from small cocktail parties to large-scale fundraisers. Baim is also founding co-chair of the Chicago Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and serves on the boards of other nonprofits, donating thousands of hours each year to the gay community. Jeff McCourt, Publisher of Windy City Times, said he was delighted that the Windy City Times name would continue to be a leader in Chicago and national gay publishing. McCourt had decided to sell Windy City Times to pursue other creative interests. "I have worked very hard to create one of the top gay papers in the U.S.," McCourt said. "Tracy and I started Windy City Times out of my apartment on Melrose in the fall of 1985. From limited resources, we created a profitable and vital business in Chicago. For the past 13 years, Tracy and I have progressed on separate paths to accomplish the same goals: serving the gay community through publishing. Now, the two papers can combine the best of both worlds and create an exciting and unique publication for Chicago-area, and national, gays and lesbians." "We hope to be among the best and most diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered publications in the country," said Baim. "We have more than 100 writers, photographers, and reporters contributing to our publications from all across the city, suburbs and U.S. We already have a more diverse pool of talent than any other gay publication in the city and the nation, and we hope to build on the reputations of all of the publications to help make Windy City Times the No. 1 regional gay paper in the country." The new management team for Lambda Publications will be: Publisher and Managing Editor Tracy Baim; Assistant Publisher Mona Noriega, MBA; Business Manager David Guarino, MBA; Director of New Media Jean Albright; Senior Account Manager Terri Klinsky; Senior Account Manager Marco Fernandez; Office Manager John Pennycuff; Sales Associates Sherri Jackson and Israel Wright; in addition to other administrative and editorial positions. The newly re-designed Windy City Times will be on the streets Sept. 20, 2000. A re-designed website will also be available in September at www.wctimes.com, or also see www.outlineschicago.com. The Windy City Times offices will be at 1115 W. Belmont, Suite 2-D, Chicago, IL 60657, (773) 871-7610, Fax (773) 871-7609, firstname.lastname@example.org. ### CONTACT: Tracy Baim 773-871-7610, Jeffrey McCourt: 312-397-0025, Kevin Boyer, (847) 251-5742
March 24, 2000 (Carlsbad, CA) -- Computer Economics projects that between 2001 and 2005, the number of gay and lesbian Internet users will grow from 13.5 million to 22.4.
In addition to the growth in gay and lesbian Internet users, the online population of users affiliated with the gay and lesbian community will grow rapidly in the next five years. Computer Economics estimates that family, friends, co-workers and others affiliated with gays and lesbians will total 28.5 million in 2001 and rise to 46.1 million by 2005.
"The online gay and lesbian community is growing at a much higher rate than the overall Internet population due to the privacy, relevant information, and virtual communities that are available online and are particularly attractive to gays and lesbians," said Computer Economics senior research analyst Catherine Huneke.
The largest online populations of gays and lesbians, as well as individuals affiliated with the gay and lesbian community, will be located in North America for at least the next five years. Although populations in other areas will be smaller, they will grow rapidly.
Between 2001 and 2005, the fastest growing regional gay and lesbian Internet population will be located in the Middle East. The population will grow by 198 percent in four years. This region's gay- and lesbian-affiliated Internet population will grow by 120 percent during the same period. Other quickly growing regions will be the South America, Asia Pacific, and Africa.
"As the online gay, lesbian, and affiliated Internet populations grow online in all areas of the world, more content providers will fulfill the informational and community needs of the group," said Huneke. "At the same time, these content providers will have more support from advertisers who realize the unique opportunity created by online spaces that are exclusively gay, lesbian, and affiliated, such as gay/lesbian portals Gay.com and PlanetOut.com."
Computer Economics is an independent research firm specializing in helping business executives leverage technology to build corporate value. Based in Carlsbad, California, Computer Economics serves 82 percent of the Fortune 500 through advisory services, analyst support, an innovative Web site, and printed reports. For further information, please visit the Web site at http://www.computereconomics.com.
Contact: Adam Harriss, Computer Economics, Inc.
Phone: 760-438-8100, ext. 108
Web site: http://www.computereconomics.com
Australia - Melbourne Star Observer (GLBT) newspaper, 28th May, 1999 --- Sydney publisher Greg Gahl ended rumours swirling round Melbourne this week by officially announcing the take-over of both 'MSO' and 'Brother Sister' by the Sydney property developers, the Satellite Group.
Satellite Media, a new grouping of gay publications which will eventually include Sydney's 'Capital Q Weekly', 'Outrage' magazine, 'Melbourne Star Observer', 'Brother Sister' in Melbourne and Brisbane, and 'Adelaide GT', will be the largest gay media network in the world.
The new CEO of Satellite Media, Greg Gahl, formerly publisher of 'Capital Q Weekly', said this week that the Satellite Group had bought 'MSO' and 'Outrage' and had an option to buy 'Brother Sister' later in the year.
He described the new media grouping as "an act of protection" against the threat posed by international media groups.
Gahl said that the take-over was the "only way we will protect our own market segment's right to publish in its own voice and say what we do."
He said he had no immediate plans to merge the two Melbourne papers. "Our first priority is to stabilise the Melbourne market place which is fairly fractured," he said.
According to Gahl, fierce competition for advertising had contributed to a decline in the quality of the newspapers in Melbourne.
"A more stable business environment will provide the resources to produce a better product. There will be no editorial direction coming out of Sydney. We are not homogenising the voices. What makes us strongest is diversity of voice."
One of the first decisions of the new management has been to separate 'Outrage' from the sex/relationships classifieds section, 'Meet Market' which will be sold separately later this year.
"Outrage' magazine has been relocated to Sydney and Paul Hayes, currently editor of 'Capital Q Weekly' is to replace Marcus O'Donnell who resigned last month to take a position as editor of 'Sydney Star Observer'.
Danny Vadasz, former part-owner of Bluestone Media, which published 'MSO' and 'Outrage', has sold his interest in the company to focus on electronic publishing.
Vadasz, who co-founded 'MSO' and 'Outrage' in the mid 1980s, is managing director of Communication Factory, and integrated marketing and IT company.
"I believe whatever I had to contribute to gay publishing I achieved several years ago," he said this week. "For the last few years I have been looking at alternative options. The time had certainly come for me to move on. The circumstances in which it happened could have been more amicable."
Vadasz, who was a central figure in Australian gay publishing throughout the 1980s and 90s, said the highlight of his involvement with 'Outrage' and 'MSO' was at the onset of the AIDS epidemic.
"Well before there were any AIDS councils or health promotion initiatives in Australia, it was our gay media which was leading the way in terms of HIV infection prevention education," he said. "I honestly believe that we saved a lot of lives by doing that. I'm particularly glad we were able to do that".
Washington, D.C., May 22, 1999 --- Since the very earliest days of the online revolution, gays have known that a modem could help them to reach out, even if they didn't come out. But these days, trying to bring that community under one online roof -- and delivering the prosperous gay market to advertisers -- is the name of the game.
Two major players are vying to become the Internet's gay brand name: Gay.com Network and PlanetOut.
By the hyperbolic standards of today's Internet stocks, the new Gay.com Network is fairly small potatoes. It was formed in March when two privately held companies joined forces. Although they haven't disclosed the value of the merger deal, you can bet it doesn't come close to the US$645 million that bookseller Amazon.com recently paid for three online companies.
Small, yes, but Gay.com nonetheless estimates that close to 1.25 million visitors hit the site each month. And using a different standard, PlanetOut – which is partly owned by America Online's investment arm – receives about 500,000 monthly visitors, according to chief executive Megan J. Smith, noting that lesbians make up 36 percent of her service's registered membership.
On many gay sites, "women are an afterthought," Smith said. "We've always tried to have parity." PlanetOut has attracted advertisers including Alamo Rent a Car Inc., Starbucks Corp., E-Trade Group Inc., US West Inc., Virgin Records and Amazon.com Inc.
Andrew Cramer, who founded the company called Online Partners that merged with Gay.com in March, said his immediate goal for the combined company was simple: to make money by bringing advertisers and the emerging gay market together. In general, he said, "advertisers have no idea of the market, except that they're affluent and influential." Cramer also brought in a large gay and lesbian community on America Online.
Both Gay.com and PlanetOut say they can help marketers solve what PlanetOut calls the "Closet Paradox:" reaching gays who might still be in the closet and might never go to a bar or rally – or even subscribe to a gay publication – but who might look for information or conversation from the privacy that a modem affords.
The prospect of creating a one-stop shop for advertisers wanting to reach a defined audience could be an important model for electronic commerce, said Donna Hoffman, a professor of business at Vanderbilt University who studies marketing on the World Wide Web. With "community" becoming one of the most overworked buzzwords in Internet commerce, Hoffman said a site that offers something like a real community – people who share common interests – could actually be more valuable to advertisers than the bloated yet ephemeral "communities" currently built around free Web pages and a slew of online services.
"I'd say this should be a very closely watched experiment," Hoffman said. "There could be a lesson for other e-business models."
Both sites offer a dizzying array of services and contacts. Gay.com features news and information from Gay.com's own newsroom, along with news feeds from more than 60 gay and lesbian publications such as the 32-year-old standard of gay journalism, the Advocate. The site offers local news and tips for eight cities, including San Francisco, London and Dallas-Fort Worth. Both sites provide gay-themed features on finance, travel, arts and entertainment, health and nutrition, shopping and more.
What neither site offers is sex. On the original Gay.net site, Cramer experimented with offering erotica – but ultimately decided "that's not the business we're going to be in. We're in the business of community, news" and other services.
Like many other Web sites nowadays, both major sites boast extensive live chat areas where people can socialize, hold forth, argue or trade jokes. On Gay.com, the range of round-the-clock conversation is spectacular, taking place in 50 countries and seven languages. Hundreds of volunteer discussion monitors keep things rolling and enforce the online rules of conduct.
Gil, a 49-year-old in Birmingham, Ala., said in an online interview that the site "fills a need." As a gay man who only recently came out, he's not interested in meeting people in bars – "I don't get out much" – and finds the online world a more congenial place to get to know people. He has dated some of the people he met on Gay.com, but said he's mostly looking for conversation and companionship.
Cramer, too, knows the value of meeting people online. Soon after his original service launched, the workaholic began receiving regular notes from a member in Boston, Al Farmer, criticizing the site and making technical suggestions about how to improve it. Over time, the conversation became more civil, and then more intimate; Cramer and Farmer now live together in San Francisco and have gone through a ceremony formalizing their relationship.
Will the online community draw advertisers? Gay.com cites a survey by Simmons Research that suggests more than 80 percent of gay consumers would be more likely to purchase a product advertised on a gay site than one that was not. Another survey suggests that more than 70 percent of the Gay.com audience had already purchased products or services online.
Gay.com is already a hit with some advertisers: pharmaceutical giant SmithKline Beecham bought ads to promote its online education site about Hepatitis A, (boymeetsboy.com). The site promotes the company's vaccine, Havrix. "They've been a terrific partner," said SmithKline's Frank Dzvonik, product manager for Havrix. "They've exceeded expectations in driving traffic to our site."
Online Partners polls its members and sometimes uses that information to help advertisers reach them. But Cramer said the companies know that privacy is important to their members, and don't supply information that can be used to identify them to advertisers. Advertisers on PlanetOut include Procter & Gamble Co., International Business Machines Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Virgin Records.
Once he brought together the online community, Cramer, 50, felt a need to do more with it than sell ads – he said he's hoping the site can become a center for gay and lesbian activism as well. "The feeling of crisis over AIDS has subsided somewhat, but it's going to allow people to refocus on many, many other priorities," he said. "Think of the Matthew Shepard murder . . . we have not, in this country, come to an end of violence or hate crimes."
The first big test of the power of the virtual community to act in the real world will come next April with the Millennium March on Washington (www.mmow.com), a follow-up to the 1993 gay march on the nation's capital. PlanetOut has said it will be a major sponsor of the event, working to boost attendance and provide a live "Webcast" for those who can't make the trip. "This is going to happen with or without the Internet," Cramer admitted, but added, "with the Internet, it could go over the top."
April 26, 1999, QSYNDICATE -- The first-ever newsletter designed specifically for people working in the gay and lesbian press was launched earlier this month to tremendous acclaim. PRESS PASS Q: A Newsletter for the Gay & Lesbian Press Professional offers members of the gay press a vehicle for discussion and information with the aim of building up the industry and developing community.
The intended readership includes editors, publishers, reporters, advertising salespeople, designers, photographers, business managers, and freelancers - indeed, anyone who works on publications serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community. The free biweekly publication is published by Q Syndicate and distributed via e-mail. To subscribe, simply send an e-mail to PressPassQ@aol.com and put "ADD ME" in the subject line.
Each issue presents a feature story, a digest of news involving gay and lesbian publications, commentary, letters, a calendar, classifieds, and "By the Numbers" - a statistical snapshot of one aspect of the industry.
The newsletter is edited by Rawley Grau, who for six years was the editor of the award-winning gay and lesbian monthly, the Baltimore Alternative. "I'm delighted and gratified by the warm reception Press Pass Q has received," Grau says. "But I'm not all that surprised. When I was editing the Baltimore Alternative, it often felt like I was working in isolation. I longed to have something like Press Pass Q, a way of exchanging ideas with - and getting support and encouragement from - my colleagues in the gay press."
Publisher David Bianco says, "For a long time, I've felt the gay and lesbian press needed a publication that could function as a press community newsletter and a journalism review. I did not expect, however, such immediate and sustained enthusiasm for the project. It appears we're directly addressing a very real need among gay press professionals."
The first issue of Press Pass Q appeared April 8 and featured an article on gay newspaper Web sites; the April 22 issue presented a follow-up article on the economics of being on the Web. News stories in the first two issues have looked at a Kentucky newspaper's defamation lawsuit against a homophobic crusader; the purchase of Los Angeles's gay community telephone directory by the publisher of Frontiers; the Bud Light ad featuring a gay couple; a Seattle newspaper's on-site coverage of the Shepard murder trial; and the upcoming trial of a freelance reporter on child molestation charges.
The response to Press Pass Q has been overwhelming.
Syndicated columnist Shelly Roberts wrote, "Thanks for the good work on Press Pass Q. It's long overdue, and very much appreciated."
Cartoonist Eric Orner (The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green) said, "This makes informative and interesting reading. I'll look forward to seeing it in the future. Many thanks."
Ken Kundis, a senior correspondent at Watermark, Orlando's gay newspaper, said, "What a great idea. Informative, well-written, and most importantly, provides us gay journalists with a forum, a chance to learn more about one another, and to learn of other opportunities."
Paul Varnell, a columnist with the Windy City Times (Chicago), described the newsletter as "very handsomely done and well-written."
Q Syndicate is the largest provider of content to the gay and lesbian press, with 12 syndicated columns and features. Its other programs include the annual Vice Versa Awards and a Gay & Lesbian Press Summit planned to take place in Washington, DC in April 2000. For more information, visit www.qsyndicate.com.
PRESS PASS Q is a free newsletter distributed by e-mail to anyone who is involved with the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered press. The first two issues have each reached approximately 1,100 gay press professionals. The next issue will appear May 6. To subscribe, send an e-mail to PressPassQ@aol.com with the words "ADD ME" in the subject line.
Why do "alternative" urban weekly newspapers with overwhelmingly straight readership publish lengthy, controversial cover stories about gay politics?
Both Houston Press and Dallas Observer early in September published identical cover stories about the Texas Log Cabin Republicans.
New Times, Inc. owns both newspapers. It also publishes the Phoenix New Times—the "mother newspaper" not only for the Texas weeklies but also for the Denver (Westword), Miami (New Times), San Francisco (Weekly), NewTimes LA, and New Times Palm Beach (FL).
Publishing identical stories in two newspapers shows how the New Times, Inc. chain duplicates and syndicates not only story ideas but also actual stories—a cost-saving strategy that the trade calls "synergy."
But, why gay stories?
The article is an example of how far the newspaper chain will engage in deceptive and stereotypical reporting and other unethical journalistic practices—at the expense of gay organizations--to seek make more money.
The strategy is--in the chain web page’s own words—to "kick ass," to generate controversy in the community to grab the attention of affluent, gay readers, while entertaining the straight readers.
With more gay readers, New Times, Inc. plans to lure more potential advertisers with a more attractive demographic package, added to its core audience of straight preppies, yuppies, baby-boomers and Generation Xers.
Because the news reporting of gay issues, like the Log Cabin story, is stereotypical and sensationalizes gay in-fighting, straight readers are treated to the journalistic equivalent of a mud-wresting sideshow.
There has been a dramatic growth nationwide of "alternative" newspaper chains because of a well-developed triple business and journalism strategy:
* economics of scale;
* selective targeting of affluent, hip audiences "cherry picked" from mainstream newspapers;
3) sophisticated predatory strategies against other "niche" weeklies, especially gay newspapers and their affluent audiences.
Every chain develops what New Times public calls its "philosophy." In board room business jargon these are "formulas" or "strategies" that they "export" to the various cities they "invade"
The chain was founded 26 years ago by two college drop outs who have become wealthy over their candidly "kick-ass… irascible…approach to journalism."
Behind this macho, crusader rhetoric, the chain’s journalistic strategy is the same as its economic strategy. While it "cherry picks" affluent demographic groups, it "cherry picks" facts in stories to fit the meta-narratives appealing to the stereotypes and fantasies of these groups.
For example, "cherry-picked" half-truths were applied in the Log Cabin Republican cover story to sustain the stereotype that all gays are, or should be, loyal Democrats.
A sub-narrative to support this is that aberrant, pathetic gay Republicans don’t even have support from moderate Republicans.
This stereotypical theme was promoted in both the Press and the Observer with sensationalized cover pages showing a dinky, pinky LCR elephant facing a wall of big elephant asses, representing monolithically hateful, homophobic Republican.
The article accurately reported that the Texas Log Cabin Republicans "spent $60,000" advertising their rally outside the state GOP convention hall to protest and dramatize the exclusion of a LCR booth by the Christian Coalition-dominated state party apparatus.
But the article did not mention the widely published and talked-about fact that a wealthy, influential Texas moderate, straight Republican, Trammell Crow, Jr. gave LCR all of that money, expressly for the rally.
Mentioning that crucial fact--while providing fully accurate and newsworthy journalism--would have undermined the theme of LCR isolation among moderate Republicans
So it was left out.
Also left out of the story because it didn’t fit the New Times formula was the nationwide coverage—in the major newspapers and networks from Texas to New York and Washington—of the protest overshadowing the convention, its major speakers and resolutions their potential 15-minutes of fame.
No David-Goliath narrative here--as the pesky little elephant in the cover cartoon could also be interpreted. .
Another outcome of the rally was the production and the convention screening of powerful video based on footage of the rally which will be distributed nationwide.
Although he sarcastically described in great detail the banquet room ambience, menu and some of the more controversial speakers, the article’s author did not mention the video screening. Nor did he mention Andrew Sullivan’s moving speech.
A wide variety of Texas LCR enemies—including three former LCR has-beens (who walked out because TLCR would not endorse Pat Buchanan!) and hostile leftist gays (who regularly plow on the Democrat plantation)—were cherry-picked and sympathetically and generously quoted at length.
Criticisms from the Democrats that LCR is "selling out" to religious right were contradicted—without comment from the author--by Republican criticisms that the Log Cabin Republicans were threatening "party unity" with their opposition to the religious right.
Glen Maxey, the Texas-bred clone of Barney Frank, and Dianne Hardy-Garcia, liberal gay lobbyist who has placed all of the state’s gay political fortunes on the Texas Democratic Titanic, obviously worked closely with the Dallas Observer and Houston Post meta-narrative on LCR.
While they provided the author with lists of LCR enemies to use as sources, the pair is quoted ad nauseam to fill holes in the story line
Because the straight readers of the Observer and Press have no knowledge about Maxey’s most recent antics, he may pass as a good source because he is a member of the Texas legislature.
But those in the gay community who know about him find his sophistry particularly offensive and hypocritical.
Case in point: Maxey usually opens his talks before gay audiences with a "I Was Daniel in the Lions Den" narrative of his first term as the only openly gay member of the Texas House of Representatives.
Sometimes moving his audiences to tears, he tells of how House members at first literally turned their backs on him; then, as they got to know him, began to accept and respect him.
Maxey movingly tells why he went where he was not wanted—to change people’s attitudes and to try to have an effect on policymaking.
What about the 50 LCR members who, as delegates and alternates, attended their own "lions den" at the Texas GOP convention—where they were not wanted?
Maxey is quoted saying that it made "no sense" to him.
And the article does not mention Log Cabin’s success in taking control of 40-odd Texas precincts that led to the state convention representation.
Maxey also is quoted saying that gay Republicans’ support of conservative fiscal policy is "selfish" and "greedy.’
Not mentioned in this carefully cherry-picked meta-narrative is the fact that Maxey declared bankruptcy after running up $60,000 worth of debt on his credit cards. [Note to editor: this is public record in the Austin bankruptcy court].
If this had been mentioned, the clueless New Times readers might have concluded that Maxey gave the $60,000 to the Log Cabin Republicans for their rally, since they were not informed where LCR obtained their $60,000.
Instead, the New Times—for its own greedy reasons--sticks to its Log Cabin shtick to end.
On August 19, Our Own Community Press will declare bankruptcy. The move will signal the death of one of the country’s oldest gay newspapers.
Revenues that had been 40 percent below average for the past three months and chronic staff recruitment problems had reached a crisis point; publisher Alicia Herr recommended to Our Own’s board of directors at its monthly meeting July 13 that the board contact a bankruptcy attorney and “consider our options,” she said. After extensive debate, the board agreed to have Herr and the board’s president, Tom Long, contact a bankruptcy attorney.
Over the next two weeks, letters went out to shareholders apprising them of the situation and inviting them to the next board meeting at which a decision would be made. At the August 10 meeting, the board voted in favor of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
In the beginning: A history of Our Own
Our Own began publishing in 1976 when thoughts of liberty were in the air. In August of that year, a handful of gays and lesbians created a social and political group at the Unitarian-Universalist church in Norfolk, called the Unitarian-Universalist Gay Caucus (UUGC). Before long, the group needed a newsletter to keep members informed of activities. The first issue of Our Own featured an article about a spaghetti dinner being held to raise funds for a gay helpline.
Eight people made up the backbone of the newspaper staff throughout its first decade: Dennis Buckland, Jim Early, Jayr Ellis, Joseph McKay, Fred Osgood, Keith Maranger, Doug Thompson, and Garland Tillery. Of those, Buckland, Ellis, and McKay have passed away.
Enormous numbers of other writers and volunteers came and went through the years, said Tillery. In fact, we had more graduates from well-known military academies working on the paper than any other gay newspaper in the country, he said, laughing. The Norfolk area is home to more military bases than any other metropolitan area in the world. Eschewing the hierarchy of publishers, editors, and writers, a blurb on the back of each issue said something along the lines of, This issue was put together with sweat, recklessness, and a whole lot of love by Jim, Glenda, Tom, Tori, Doug, Ruth, Jayr, Fred, Dennis, and Michael, with lots of help from our friends. Come join us next month.
The first few issues of Our Own primarily detailed the sparse gathering opportunities for gays and lesbians in Norfolk, and expounded upon the UUGC’s dreams of establishing the helpline, a venereal disease clinic, telephone counseling, a public library of gay material, and a free legal aid clinic.
By the end of its second year of publication, the newsletter had grown in circulation and size, distributed throughout the state and covering such news as Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade (with Bryant’s classic quote: I’d rather my child be dead than be a homosexual.), same-sex marriage, gays and religion, gays in the military, and gays in the media. Over the next two decades, the topics would remain fairly constant, although Anita Bryant gave way to Jerry Falwell whose media spotlight was eventually usurped by Pat Robertson.
Money was very tight at Our Own, which was distributed free and received no advertising revenue for the first 18 months of its existence. After a few months of publication, Our Own directly asked its readers for financial support, detailing its cashflow on the back page of each issue. Cash on hand: $46.93. Incoming cash from kitchen sale: $52.86. Outgoing cash for printing bill: $60. Balance: $39.79. Help!!! And the community came through.
As the years went on, the climate in the country changed. Bryant was just the beginning of a violent backlash against the tentative acceptance mainstream America held out to gays. The pages of Our Own began to contain more and more stories about gay-bashing and murder, anti-gay legislation and anti-gay crusaders. For Our Own’s readers struggling for self-determination in the back yard of Pat Robertson’s multi-million dollar right-wing compound, such events as the murder of San Francisco city supervisor and gay rights activist Harvey Milk brought home the level of hatred directed against gays.
In fact, Milk’s murder was the reason Tillery became involved in the newspaper. The night Harvey Milk was murdered, I called Our Own and said, ‘Dammit, I’m so angry, I have to do something,’ he said. Early immediately hopped in his car and drove over to pick Tillery up and bring him back to the newspaper. The two would be critical to the longevity of the newspaper even after their daily involvement stopped, with Early serving as an editorial consultant and Tillery acting as computer guru throughout the life of the paper.
Our Own became a nucleus for the community, Tillery said. He and Early always felt that every gay organization, until four or five years ago, had Our Own as its nucleus. The people who started new gay organizations either met while working at Our Own or were brought together through our articles or news stories, he said.
But mainstream Virginia didn’t feel as fondly toward the newspaper. Our Own found itself fighting to keep its issues in public libraries, which suddenly became unwilling to stock a gay newspaper. Our Own ultimately brought a lawsuit against the City of Virginia Beach with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union in an attempt to force the libraries to keep an issue of the paper with their periodicals. The lawsuit failed, but when the city sued the newspaper to recoup the money the city had spent on its defense, the case went all the way to the Federal Appeal Court in Wilmingon, N.C., where the court decided in favor of Our Own.
Near the end of 1981, gays began to hear about a new gay cancer taking the lives of gay men. Gay newspapers, and the gay community in general, weren’t sure how to react to the news. Gay men, especially, associated personal freedom with sexual freedom, particularly since they’d only begun to experience sexual freedom in the past few years with the explosion of gay bathhouses and cruise bars. To many, it sounded suspiciously like a government plot to force gay men back into the closet.
But the rising death toll was impossible to ignore, and Our Own forged ahead with stories that educated readers about possible causes of the new disease.
The AIDS crisis brought the gay and lesbian community together, said Alicia Herr, publisher of Our Own throughout its second decade. We became a family. We came out in droves. National gay groups began to form. The personal became political. And AIDS was personal. Death is very personal.
On the crest of that second wave of gay activism, Herr found herself president of the Norfolk chapter of the Mandamus Society, a social and very- quasi-political group, she said, and while in that position was tapped to be a new member of Our Own’s board of directors.
The second decade
Early, Tillery, Osgood, Maranger and the others had been the driving force behind the newspaper for its first decade, but the core group began to disintegrate as several of its members died or moved away; the staff was grappling with an increasing workload as the paper grew and the financial resources failed to keep pace. They needed someone to take over.
Herr, as president of the Mandamus chapter, had experience with coordinating gay efforts. And she was an out lesbian. Those two qualities alone qualified her to be on the board of directors of Our Own.
She joined Our Own’s board in 1987, and became publisher in 1991. It proved to be a trial by fire.
Talk about flat-out ignorant, that was me, said Herr. I didn’t know anything about [running a newspaper]. I’d never even used a computer. But I learned fast.
She had to. Soon after taking over as publisher, staff attrition resulted in Herr acting as editor, distribution manager, and advertising salesperson all at once. I did all kinds of crazy things to keep the paper going during rough periods, including voluntarily giving up her salary for months on end, and engaging in a non-stop arm-twisting campaign to recruit new talent to the paper.
She proved to be the best thing that could have happened to the newspaper. During her tenure, Our Own grew from 16 to 48 pages, although monthly revenues only increased from $5,000 to $7,200. Ultimately, the paper left the womb of the Unitarian-Universalist church and rented its own office on the main thoroughfare of Ghent, Norfolk’s enclave of artists and gays.
Perhaps because gay advocacy began to seem less crucial as gay civil rights began to be affirmed by the public and the courts, staffing the newspaper became more and more difficult. There have been a lot of people who have given a lot, said Herr. It’s just that it’s been so inconsistent. You have spells when you have a big group of people, and then two weeks later you’ve lost half your staff.
Whenever a staff person left, Herr stepped in to fill the void. Whether it was ads, distribution, answering the voice mail, I always stepped in to take the job over, she said. I’m the only person who ever took out the garbage she added, laughing. It felt lonely, sometimes being the one person who must always take up any slack, she said. Even when I had one good staff person, or two or three, I still felt like it would never settle into a routine, but would always involve nearly constant crisis management. That takes a toll after eleven years.
Part of the reason why keeping staff was so difficult was because they couldn’t be paid what their work was worth. In fact, salaries weren’t paid at all until 1989, when the editor was paid $50 per month. By the end of 1997, all of the salaries combined for editor, publisher, circulation manager, ad manager, and office manager barely broke $1,500 per month.
And the reason the salaries were inadequate was because advertising revenue was too low. We’ve never been able to have advertising rates where they need to be, Herr said. Our rates aren’t anywhere near what other local tabloids are. In the last 16 years, we’ve only increased ad rates twice, and by only 10 percent. Nobody can live on that kind of commission, she said.
In addition, selling ads is difficult when the newspaper couldn’t afford to have a person in the office answering the telephones and returning phone calls within a reasonable time frame, she said, noting the vicious cycle. In fact, “it was only in the last year that we had an office manager part time. A year and a half out of 22 years. It’s real hard to sell advertising and develop relationships with advertisers when you can’t support even one full-time staff person.
Also, costs increased dramatically once the newspaper moved into its own office a move made necessary by the Unitarian church’s growth resulting in their need for the newspaper’s office space.
Our rent almost doubled, and we had to put down three months’ [rent] as a security deposit. We had to spend $600 to put more electric into the office to support our computers. We had to spend $2,000 to purchase computer-related equipment, and we spent $1,000 on office furniture. At that time we had the money to do it, but when your revenue dips and dives depending on who’s [staffing] the office, the safety margin becomes perilously thin.
In April, 1998 Our Own lost its office manager, and despite Herr’s notoriously successful recruitment efforts, she was unable to find a replacement. With the loss of someone to answer phones and return calls, revenues dropped by 40 percent for May, June, and July.
Herr had given the board of directors 18 months notice of her October 1998 retirement. Despite months of searching, the board had been unable to find a replacement for Herr. Our Own had also been unable to find an arts and entertainment editor during Read’s tenure, a position which would have prepared another staff person to take over as editor.
Pat Heck, chair of Virginians for Justice, a gay and lesbian lobbying group, said that Our Own’s staffing problems may have resulted in part from the suburban and transient nature of Tidewater’s inhabitants, as well as the heavy influence of the religious right in the area. Virginia and Hampton Roads are difficult for queer organizing, because the culture is oppressive, and it’s convenient for many [lesbians and gays] to assimilate rather than fight, he said.
Herr was in an impossible position. The paper couldn’t continue to operate on such low revenues. The newspaper owed two months worth of printing bills and other smaller bills. The paper would have to bring in enormous revenues (by historical standards) to catch up, and without an office manager the paper would only continue to lose money. And once Herr left, what would remain to keep the newspaper alive at all?
On July 13, Our Own’s board of directors had its monthly meeting. Herr told the board about the financial situation and recommended the board contact an attorney to discuss the possibility of bankruptcy and discover if other options existed.
On August 10, after meeting with the attorney, the board voted in favor of bankruptcy. On Wednesday, August 19, bankruptcy papers will be signed. And one of America’s oldest gay newspapers will slip into history.
Grieving and letting go
It literally makes me sick to my stomach, said Garland Tillery in a mixture of anger and pain. “When Boston’s Gay Community News folded a couple years ago, we became the oldest gay community newspaper still publishing. The death of the institution, and the thought of the newspaper being unable to fully repay some of its creditors, is almost more than he can bear. We have to find a way to apologize to the community, he said.
Herr expressed similar sentiments, but was more resigned, given the paper’s financial and staff situation. It was important to me that, if we had to file for bankruptcy, we do it sooner rather than later, she said. Continuing to try to run the paper, continuing to sell advertising packages based on three or six months, continuing to sell subscriptions would only be dishonest, she felt, and would result in doing damage to the advertisers and readers.
Her herculean effort to keep the paper together over the past decade has “all been worth it, said Herr a little sadly. But you have to know when to step back into your life. I have no regrets for my time with Our Own. And I’m glad that, if the paper had to go bankrupt, I was there to make sure it was done right.
Herr and other supporters gathered $800 so that one final issue of Our Own could be printed and distributed to 10,000 readers. This was so important to me, said Herr. We needed to say goodbye.
She thought for a moment, and then went on. But now I need my home, my lover, my cats. I need my sanity.
Addendum: Closing comments from current and previous staff:
Former Editor Jim Early once told me a story about Jayr Ellis, a Hampton Roads activist who attended the spaghetti dinner that launched Our Own in 1976. For one campaign, Jayr collected grocery store receipts from LGBT customers and took them to the store’s manager to show them how much LGBT people were spending. Early said Jayr knew from the beginning that it wasn’t about changing the establishment. It was more about helping gay people to feel good about themselves and to take risks.
For 22 years, Our Own has done just that for both its readership and for its staff. Hundreds of people have given time and talent to this paper. For some, unloading the truck was their first activist gesture. Many people came out while working at Our Own. Some found love here. Some took risks.
Shortly after I wandered in as a volunteer proofreader, Alicia Herr cornered me and said What are you doing for the next few years? Her dancing eyes were the major reason I took the job. From her I learned that service is humble and steady, that visionaries aren’t above licking envelopes. Younger generations of LGBT people owe much of their liberty to Alicia, Jayr, and the brave founders of Our Own. We stand on their shoulders.
Kirk Read, Managing Editor, Editor in chief, 1996-1998
I was to retire from Our Own on October 31. I never intended to oversee its closing. I’ve seen the paper through many bad times. I’m sorry that circumstances dictate the closing of Our Own after its twenty two years of heartfelt service to the community. I’m proud of the contribution that the paper has made in the lives of its readers. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of an incredible experience that has touched so many lives. Don’t let your voice go unheard with the demise of Our Own. Live your passion. Say your piece.
Alicia Herr, Publisher, 1987-1998
I found working on the newspaper very helpful in terms of personal development and in terms of communication skills. All the skills I developed have helped me in my work now. I met a lot of people. I enjoyed working with Alicia, Debbie, Jim Early, and Kathleen Vickery. I hope someone will see fit to fill the void. I hope someone in the state will create a publication similar in terms of diversity, representing the women’s and men’s communities.
Keith Maranger, News Editor, 1986-1994, stockholder
When I first heard Our Own would soon cease to publish, it struck me like the death of a friend. But if there is anything positive that can come from the closing of this Virginia institution, it is that wonderful memories will continue to stay with me for the rest of my days. I hope readers out there feel the same way. Think about a personal ad you answered, an event you attended that was in the community calendar, a story that made you laugh, or a story that made you cry. Our Own will continue in our hearts as long as we have those memories.
Patrick Evans-Hylton, Editor-in-chief, 1992-1994, stockholder
Our Own Community Press was, when I moved here from Kansas in 1991, a breath of fresh air and an assurance that there was a concerned and talented gay community in Virginia. The writing in Our Own has been consistently good and the viewpoints on events in my new community, the state, and the world at large were refreshing in a state whose media was frequently inconsistent on gay issues. As the 90s progressed the staff of Our Own developed an increasing level of professionalism under the editorship of Patrick Evans-Hylton, Kathleen Vickery, and Kirk Read. I was proud to be a part of the paper as book reviewer, features writer, and Arts and Entertainment Editor. The world is better in many ways for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people now than when Our Own began. Mainstream media finds it impossible to ignore queer issues. I am happy to have been part of this newspaper. It has been part of the successful effort to move queer concerns to national top-of-mind awareness. Our Own has been an unambiguous positive influence in Virginia.
Lee Hanson, Staff Writer and Arts and Entertainment Editor, 1993-1998
Today my friends and I are attending a wake. As we mourn the passing of Our Own Community Press, we realize that our lives will never be the same again. We of the Our Own staff have been family for one another for many years (ok, sometimes a dysfunctional family, but still...) We grieve for that entity which bound us together in a labor of talent, love, sweat and tears each month. With this last issue we hope to lay her to rest with that same love and care. We mourn the loss of these family connections, but most importantly we feel the void in our community which will be caused by the death of Our Own.
Rosemary Wallace Doud, Assistant Editor, 1992-1998
We have not always fully accounted for the enormous asset of our volunteer and paraprofessional workers: publisher, editors, office managers, ad managers, distribution managers, proofreaders, writers, cartoonists, and others, who have provided sweat capital for the paper’s operation. For their two-plus decades of work, we should all be thankful.
Tom Long, Chair of Our Own board, 1997-1998
Our Own provided my first glance of the local gay community when I arrived in Tidewater three years ago. I joined the Our Own team a year ago, writing a few articles, and then took over distribution of the paper in January, 1998. Kirk, Alicia, and Christian became like family, encouraging me every month when new and unusual distribution challenges would occur. The paper will be missed for many reasons in each reader’s life. I will miss, most of all, the privilege of working with people of excellence who put out a paper of superb quality and the sense of family the staff provided to me.
Don Orluck, Staff Writer/Distribution Manager, 1997-1998
You like to read? How about some free books? No, really; all you have to do is write a short review after you read it and you can keep the book, said the then-book review editor, Jesse Braxton. With those words I was first lured into working for Our Own. It was at a party approximately six weeks after my move to Hampton Roads. My first review was in the paper shortly afterwards. I was hooked.
I know that for the ten years I have been affiliated with the paper, money was often tight. I didn’t know how tight until I received a call regarding this, the last issue of the paper. We had always managed to get by before. It’s still not quite real to me; no more production weekends? No writers’ meetings to plan out the next issue or two? What will the LGBT population of Virginia do for news now?
I have grown with the paper and the various people affiliated with it. My partner and I have collaborated on several interviews and stories, and have found that we really do work well together. For a decade, Our Own has been my own in a sense, and I will miss it, and the people involved with it, greatly. Ravigo Zomana, Staff Writer/Associate News Editor/Contributing Editor/Dyke of all trades, 1988-1998
When we moved to Norfolk ten years ago, we discovered Our Own. We are so sad at this demise of the paper. Let’s hope that the next generation will pick up, jump in there, and someday go for our causes. You have all served us with your heart and soul.
Sarah Munford and Laurel Quarberg of the New Leaf
As I write, I sit in a black office chair set at exactly the right height for my short legs. Tom Long, president of the board of directors, sat in this very chair as he presided over the final board meeting of Our Own. Though I’ve aqcuired this chair and it’s in my home now, this chair belongs to Our Own and all those who sat in it before me. I sit proudly and sadly. A void fills our community now. What voice speaks for us?
NEW YORK, January 13, 1998-- The gay press was founded to give voice to an isolated community. Nearly 30 years later, Corporate America is increasingly wooing that community and its buying power.
Advertising in gay publications is soaring with an increasing number of huge companies pitching cars, travel, computers, investments, drugs, clothings and more. New advertisers in 1997 included IBM, United Airlines and American Express.
"In spite of the fact that a larger number (of gay publications) are free, we have a viable audience and they are brand loyal," said Bob Craig, publisher of Frontiers, a biweekly gay newsmagazine that has served Los Angeles since 1982 and expanded to San Francisco in 1994.
Readers of gay newspapers in 10 major markets have an average individual income of $47,090, according to Simmons Market Research Bureau. That figure is more than twice the U.S. per capita income of $18,135 based on Census Bureau figures.
Simmons also found that 94 percent of the more than 735,000 readers studied are likely to buy a product or service advertised in a gay publication.
"In choosing somewhere, I'll go to a store that I know advertises in the paper," said Dallas resident Dennis Polk, a reader of the weekly Dallas Voice. Advertisers say it would be foolish to ignore such potentially loyal customers.
"We've been a longtime supporter of the gay community. They in turn are very supportive of us, which makes a heck of a lot of good business sense," said Miller Brewing spokeswoman Gina Shaffer, whose company has placed Miller Lite ads in national magazines such as the Advocate and Out Magazine.
"To reach people you have to reach them in a wide variety of publications and advertising mediums," said Mark Smith, a spokesman for cigarette maker Brown & Williamson, which advertises its Lucky Strike brand in the gay press.
The company's biggest competitor, Philip Morris, also pitches its top- selling Marlboro brand, as well as Benson & Hedges and Parliament, in the gay press. They are among scores of prominent brands from all types of businesses -including Nike, Blockbuster, HBO, MasterCard, Gucci, State Farm insurance and Harley-Davidson -on the pages of the nation's 175 gay publications.
Despite the proliferation of such big names, local advertising in newspapers has remained the backbone of the gay press since its birth in the late 1960s.
Total ad spending jumped 36 percent to $100.2 million in 1997 from a year earlier and has nearly doubled since 1994, according to a study of 138 publications by Mulryan/Nash, a New York ad agency that helps companies target gay consumers. Local newspapers accounted for more than half of the 1997 total with $56.2 million.
While the most-advertised businesses were bars and clubs, the fastest growing category was pharmaceuticals -fueled in part by new HIV drugs, Mulryan/Nash said. Marketers included leading drug makers Merck and Glaxo Wellcome.
Such national advertisers will continue to increase their share in the gay press as society becomes more accepting of the gay community, said Dave Mulryan, a partner in Mulryan/Nash. A perfect example, he said, was advertisers' interest in the ABC sitcom "Ellen" during the highly publicized coming-out of star Ellen DeGeneres.
"It made the case that you won't alienate a large segment of society if you have an openly gay character," Mulryan said.
Despite major inroads, however, there is still significant opposition by some conservatives to corporate support of the gay community. Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, is being boycotted by the 15 million-member Southern Baptist Convention for its gay-friendly policies. Disney's chairman, Michael Eisner, told shareholders the boycott has had no discernible impact on earnings and that he will defend Disney's right to produce the entertainment it chooses, even if some might find offensive.
Coors, the nation's third-largest brewer, had no trepidation about advertising in gay publications despite its potential to upset some shareholders, spokesman Joe Fuentes said.
"We've been through that already," Fuentes said, noting that the company extended health benefits to partners of gay employees in 1995. "We understand that there would be some backlash."
Ad rates tend be higher in the gay press than in mainstream publications, which are often corporate-owned and have more efficient sales practices, Mulryan said. To attract more national advertisers, many gay newspapers are banding together.
The Simmons Market Research study was funded by the National Gay Newspaper Guild, a group of papers in 10 major markets formed in 1988 to research demographics. The guild was formed with the help of Rivendell Marketing Co., a firm that buys ad space in gay publications for major advertisers.
In addition, a group called Window Media acquired the Southern Voice in Atlanta and the Houston Voice in 1997 under a plan to form a gay newspaper group sustained by growing national ad revenue while still focused on local news.
William Waybourn, the founder of Window Media and former managing director of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said the Washington-based investment group wants to purchase 10 papers within five years.
Many gay publications struggle financially because they are started primarily by activists without much capital behind them, Waybourn said.
"We're looking at making money, too, but the point is to make sure that these newspapers go well into the next century," he said.
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 6, 1997--
Advertising spending in the gay press reached $100.2 million this year, a 35.9% increase over 1996, according to the fourth annual Mulryan/Nash Gay Press Report, a national study of ad spending and editorial content in the 138 gay-targeted print publications across the U.S.
"According to our calculations, the gay press has once more emerged as the fastest growing print/ad market in the U.S.," stated Dave Mulryan, partner of Mulryan/Nash. "For the past three consecutive years, gay-press ad revenues have grown faster than those in both the mainstream press and other niche markets." In comparison, he noted, ad revenues in mainstream newspapers grew just 12.9% over 1996, as reported by the Newspaper Association of America, and ad spending in mainstream magazines grew 11.2%, according to the Publisher's Information Bureau. Meanwhile, ad revenues in the Hispanic press grew 11% according to Hispanic Business News and advertising directed at African Americans grew an estimated 2.1% according to Target Market News (no print-only breakdown was available).
Meanwhile, mainstream advertisers continued to show a strong commitment to the gay press. Among the big-name, first-time advertisers in 1997 were the generally-conservative Aetna Retirement Services, American Express Financial Services, and IBM. HBO and The Sundance Channel also appeared for the first time, as did the airlines United and Continental. And in the fashion category Perry Ellis, Joe Boxer, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana all placed ads.
New Names and Top Categories
The top-ranking ad categories in the gay press remained constant for the third consecutive year. They are as follows: 1) Bars and Clubs at 19.9%; 2) Phone Services at 16.6%; 3) Classifieds at 9.5%; 4) Gay Events/Organizations/Meetings at 5.3%; 5) Retail Products and Services at 4.1%.
Heartening Changes In HIV Arena
"The one area in which we're seeing tremendous changes is HIV," said Mulryan, "and those changes are quite heartening."
According to the study, the fastest growing category this year was Pharmaceutical advertising, which -- fueled in large part by ads to introduce protease inhibitors, a new class of HIV drugs -- rose 300% over 1996 to rank second in magazines and eighteenth overall. These advertisers include Roche, Merck, Abbott, Hoffmann-La Roche, Agouron and Glaxo Wellcome.
At the same time, Mulryan noted, advertising for viaticals (the buyback of life insurance policies from the terminally ill) dropped 58.1% overall, and in terms of editorial coverage -- this is the second year the study tracks editorial content -- HIV-related news dropped 33.3% and obituaries dropped 36.4%.
"People with HIV are living longer," said Mulryan, "and the pages of the gay press -- both in terms of its revenue sources and editorial coverage -- are reflecting that positive trend."
Other Fast Growing Ad Categories
Advertising for Gay Magazines rose a notable 150% -- a trend which, according to Mulryan, shows the optimism and commitment of gay-press publishers.
Also, advertising for Records and Compact Discs rose 100%. Advertisers include Columbia/Sony Music, Virgin, and MCA. "Record companies are wise to focus ad dollars on the gay market," said Mulryan, "since music -- as well as other entertainment -- rates well in most, if not all gay-consumer surveys."
Editorial Focus on the Arts and Entertainment
Moreover, noted Mulryan, according to editorial breakdown of the Mulryan/Nash Gay Press Report, the Arts accounted for the single largest category for coverage (22.5%), broken down further into such sub-categories as Movies (6.3%); Theater (4.6%); Music/Concert News (2.7%); Books/Writers (2.5%); and Television (2.5%). (Note: Much of the television coverage tracked during the study's April measurement period was devoted to the episode of ABC's Ellen during which the show's main character, played by Ellen DeGeneres, acknowledged her homosexuality).
Large amounts of editorial coverage were also devoted to Gay News (17.5%) -- both national and local -- and to coverage and/or listings of local Gay Organizations and Meetings (12.6%).
Disparities in Advertising vs. Editorial
One disappointment, Mulryan noted, was that advertising for other arts segments were down this year (i.e., save for Records/CDs, the small-entry presence of HBO and the Sundance Channel, and the continuing, if also small, presence of Showtime). Despite the editorial coverage spent on books, movies, concerts, etc., as well as the fact that gay consumers purchase comparatively higher in these areas, very few movie makers, book publishers, concert promoters and the like have zeroed in on the gay consumer.
"A very clear opportunity exists here," said Mulryan, "particularly since gay consumers have shown a decided preference for, and loyalty to, those brands (e.g., liquor, airlines, clothing, etc.) which are marketed directly towards them."
Overall Reach Grows
Total circulation for all gay publications also climbed in 1997 by 15.9% and is now 2,736,644, while the total number of publications (despite start-ups and closings) held steady at 138. (Note: This year HIV publications such as Art & Understanding and Poz were not counted as part of the survey's totals, in part because their focus continues to expand beyond the gay reader. Rather, they were tracked separately and are included as a sidebar).
Local Pubs Still "Backbone" of Gay Press
"The gay press, which started in a very grass-roots, community-based way, continues to be dominated by local news and advertising," said Mulryan.
Local newspapers, he cited, (which now number 93) accounted for slightly more than one-half of the ad revenue in the gay press ($56.2MM) this year. (Note: Last year, while the dollar amount was less, the percentage was approximately the same). Meanwhile, National Magazines (seven in all) and Arts & Entertainment Guides (totaling 28) evenly split almost all of the remaining revenue ($21.8MM and $21.7MM respectively).
Gays "Come Out" Younger - Gay Press Responds
Mulryan also stressed that it was the Local Arts & Entertainment Guides which exhibited the strongest revenue growth this year (up 80.8%) as well as a corresponding surge in circulation (up 105%).
"One reason for the fast-increasing popularity of Arts & Entertainment Guides," he said, "is the fact that gay men and women now tend to 'come out' at an earlier age. This, we believe, has lead to higher readership among young people -- people looking for club and concert information, shopping and dating guides, etc. Advertisers, in turn -- as evidenced by their increased ad spending in the guides -- have recognized this as an opportunity to reach the highly desirable ad target of 18 - 24-year olds."
Mulryan/Nash was formed in 1991 to help mainstream businesses target the gay market. The agency engineered groundbreaking campaigns in the gay press for Subaru, Home Access Healthcare, Agouron Pharmaceuticals, and the Netherlands Board of Tourism, as well as Broadway's Love! Valour! Compassion! and Angels in America. It also performs research and marketing for several Fortune 500 companies.
CONTACT: Bill Gordon, 212/633-6139
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