A new year brings with it the attempt to keep your New Year’s resolutions and start new projects. For me, there are no new resolutions, since years ago it became apparent that any resolutions I made usually didn’t make it through January, much less the entire calendar year.
But there is that second item, new projects, which truly gets me excited and ready to start anew in January. For those of us who have made a commitment to News is Out, we understand that it represents a new pioneering form of media for the national LGBTQ+ community.
For many of us old-school newspaper people, we have to change the way we’ve operated and implement new tools. That has been a challenge and luckily, a rewarding one. But the most wondrous aspect is that once a week the publishers of News Is Out have a zoom meeting. We talk about the industry, what we’ve been through, and what we need to do to ensure our community maintains its robust local journalism networks. It’s incredibly reassuring, as someone who is watching the decline of print journalism worldwide, to work with such an accomplished group of individuals who have made a lifetime commitment to serving their communities. Between us, we have well over a century’s worth of experience of bringing news, information and dialog to our communities. We LGBTQ+ publishers are a strange and very small group. At our core, we’re in a profession that’s based on a vision to inform and bring equality to our community.
We’ve become a united group thanks to the guidance of Local Media Association, which is sort of our guiding shepherd through the rapidly changing journalism world. We’ve been blessed that others are beginning to see how our vision for LGBTQ+ journalism can be used to benefit our community and bring sustainability to our staff.
While early in the project, some of us publishers were still skeptical about what a collaborative such as this one could do to keep our publications going, but in August, LMA invited us to their conference in Chicago. It was our first gathering.
Word got out that along with all of us publishers being at the conference, a representative from AARP happened to be there as well, so a meeting was arranged. Historically, AARP’s support for the LGBTQ+ community is well documented. When we all met, they saw the potential immediately and a partnership was established. You’ll be able to see the journalism produced from the partnership on the News Is Out site and in each of our publications. Thanks to that first partnership, we’ve been able to take a deep dive into one of the most endangered groups within our community: LGBTQ+ seniors. This project is pioneering. No other LGBTQ+ media has ever seen such a deep look at our seniors in so many ways in so many places throughout the nation. We believe the series showcases our first out generation in all its aspects. What amazed me was the intergenerational programs and how some of our seniors were the caregivers, not just those being cared for.
We’ve all been through so much in the last three years, and want to say here’s to 2023, a chance to move forward. It’s been over 50 years since I began traveling the road for equality. It’s been a privilege to continue paving the way along with LMA, Dallas Voice, Washington Blade, Windy City Times, Tagg Magazine, Bay Area Reporter, and my family at Philadelphia Gay News. I thank all of them for this opportunity to once again pioneer and dream of a vision for our community. And I thank all of our readers here at News Is Out and our supporters like AARP for traveling that road with us.
Mark Segal is the founder and publisher of Philadelphia Gay News. He is also an author, activist and one of the founding members of the Gay Liberation Front.