by Joe Siegel
The Liberty Press, the longest-running LGBT newspaper in Kansas, has been given a boost from a now-defunct publication.
F5, Wichita’s weekly alternative newspaper, stopped publishing in July 2015. In November, owner Mike Marlett donated the magazine racks the paper had been using in various distribution locations around Wichita to the Liberty Press.
Liberty Press owner Kristi Parker said the paper had been distributed at many of the same locations and reached out to Marlett after seeing the empty racks.
Parker asked what he planned to do with the racks, and Marlett offered to donate the racks at no charge.
“I feel very fortunate to have these racks. They are very expensive and I had recently been looking online for an affordable option. I am so grateful to the owners of F5,” said Parker. “[The racks] will be put to use much more in the next few months. They will bring far greater exposure to the Liberty Press at our distribution spots and enable us to add more distribution points which require a rack.”
Currently, the Liberty Press is distributed at 125 locations. But now Parker plans to add another 50.
In addition, the Liberty Press has added several new writers and a new photographer. Transgender activists Elle Boatman and Brenda Way have joined as staff reporters.
The paper has had a trans columnist for many years, but the addition of Boatman and Way will enhance the coverage of the trans community, Parker noted.
“Elle and Brenda will add a trans voice to more news reporting type stories. I’m excited to have their point of view reflected in what we cover,” Parker said.
There are also some younger writers coming aboard — Wichita East juniors Jeromiah Taylor and Isabella Parker. Emily Beckman from Butler County College contributed a feature for the February issue, and Matthew Jones-Arnone has joined the staff as an event photographer.
Parker is happy to feature younger voices in the Liberty Press.
“I’m so excited about the overall direction of the paper,” Parker said. “The changes lead to growth for us, and after more than 20 years, it is exciting that it’s happening. The community is still putting a lot of energy behind the paper and I’m very grateful.”
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