BY JOSH ROBBINS
In the past 30 days, over 2,100 journalists have lost their jobs…
Media companies are downsizing, in some cases eliminating entire divisions. Some of the reporters affected are individuals who cover LGBTQ issues. Some of these reporters identify as LGBTQ and have the authority and experience to write the important news pieces and stories that speak to the heart of who we are in the community. They can offer unparalleled coverage about our community, from those who truly understand our community.
Now, many of these talented journalists have no idea where they will go — we call them freelancers. But, at the moment, they are just unemployed.
This is problematic, in my view, not only for these individuals, but for those of us who want access to important stories and coverage. I fear we may be witnessing a decline of LGBTQ media and coverage.
Buzzfeed, HuffPost, Into, Pride, AOL, Yahoo News, and Gannett have all laid off journalists. Vice suggests it will be next.
These large national publications arguably helped change the conversation during the marriage equality fight, but local LGBTQ-owned and published media outlets are the backbone of LGBTQ media, and they too are facing the harsh reality of struggling to sustain their publications.
Unfortunately, many have not been able to do so.
The September 20th issue of the Wisconsin Gazette was its final. December 17th marked the final publication of Miami Herald’s Palette Magazine. San Diego’s LGBT Weekly has suspended its print edition, as did Vital Voice Magazine, based in St. Louis, which ended its print edition following their June 2017 Pride issue. Options, Rhode Island’s volunteer-run LGBT newsmagazine, has suspended publication due to financial problems. Oregon’s PQ Monthly has also downsized.
QLife Las Vegas replaced QVegas and Gay.Vegas as the city’s LGBT magazine and destination website. Los Angeles-based Frontiers magazine has suspended publication due to the financial problems of its parent company, Multimedia Platforms Worldwide (MMP).
For the websites that have been able to survive the wave of closures, people on social media have begun to share their unhappiness about many of these outlets’ the new direction and style.
AfterEllen has changed drastically since downsizing. Queer singer-songwriter Grace Petrie tweeted recently: “If you aren’t aware, AfterEllen used to be a cool lesbian/bi content website years ago. It was bought out, changed management and now spews regular transphobic articles. Original creators and recent contributors have made public statements in opposition to it due to this.”
Gay.com was sold. Advocate and Out are now technically owned by straight men.
This should be the alarm sounding off for the LGBTQ community to double down and support the outlets that tell our stories, that cover news focusing on us, and that don’t relent on issues that affect marginalized communities within the LGBTQ demographic.
Just as Pride is celebrated each year, we should make sure we celebrate the news and publications that are writing about us. That means protecting these publications before they cease to exist.
If you were affected by the recent layoffs across media, WAXoh.com and the team here at True Media are looking for writers.
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