It’s been an up and down May for regional gay-oriented publications. First, the Chicago Free Press announced it was ceasing operations after 11 years in print. The GLBT-oriented newspaper’s owner, David Costanzo, has decided to no longer fund the publication due to declining health.
Then came the accusation that San Diego’s Gay and Lesbian Times has been inflating its circulation numbers to advertisers. According to the San Diego News Network, the Times claims to publish 15,700 copies weekly, but invoices show that the paper has scaled back to as few as 9,000 copies per week. The article suggests the decrease in circulation and deceptive sales tactics are a result of the publication’s dire financial situation.
On a brighter note, a new gay-oriented publication, sbi Magazine, has launched in the Atlanta market. That brings the total number of new gay publications to six since the devastating collapse of Windows Media (publishers of Southern Voice and David) last year. sbi – an acronym for stylish, bold, informative – publishes weekly and strives to highlight more of the “under the radar” Atlanta gay scene.
Alternet published a great article about the triumphant return of the GLBT newspaper The Washington Blade amidst the decline of another D.C. institution – conservative newspaper The Washington Times. In a previous post, I reported the return of the Blade after the publication abruptly shut its doors in November, and it sounds like the newspaper is back and better than ever.
In that same post I commented an article in the San Francisco Gay Times that suggests there is a crisis in gay journalism as evidenced by the decline of gay newspapers. However, this decline isn’t unique to gay publications – newspapers across the U.S. are struggling to survive in the age of the internet, and the smaller local publications are the hardest hit. Further, gay news going more and more mainstream, and we no longer have to refer to “fag rags” to get news relevant to the gay community. Despite the loss of some gay-oriented publications, I would contend that gay journalism is as strong as ever.