Interview with Publisher and Founder Mark Segal
by Joe Siegel
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PPQ: What feature or features of Philadelphia Gay News have been the most popular with readers?
Publisher Mark Segal: Hard news, Local, local, local.
PPQ: Who came up with the name and what is the inspiration for it?
Segal: Jim Austin [a friend who ran the Pittsburgh Gay News] at a time when most people in the LGBT community were in the closet, we felt that the paper should be clear on its mission in its title. We were OUT, proud and we were going to cover the news, views, opinions and issues of our community.
PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Philadelphia Gay News facing now?
Segal: The same as all media at present. Media is changing and how people consume it. We need to speak to this change, and be able to deliver the same level of professionalism.
PPQ: How has Philadelphia Gay News changed since it was first launched?
Segal: At start up, with little funds and volunteers. Soon we learned that volunteerism would not allow us to become the professional publication we envisioned. We then moved to a business model with Associated Press editorial standards.
PPQ: What one change would you like to make?
Segal: A newspaper is alive, and must be current and change with time. We change as the community grows.
PPQ: What are the biggest news stories Philadelphia Gay News has covered?
|PGN’s Mark Segal
Segal: A long list. We published the first news reports on lesbian nuns. We covered and ran exposes on the AIDS bicycle fund raisers. Trans murders and racism have been covered in PGN since its very first year.
PPQ: On the Kinsey Scale of 0-6 [exclusively straight to totally gay], how gay is your publication?
Segal: Our news and features must always have an LGBT slant. Our readership is approximately 80 percent LGBT and 20 percent allies.
PPQ: Do you see yourselves as “activist journalists”? If so, in what way?
Segal: Yes, we come to the journalistic table with a point of view that our community is fighting for equality.
PPQ: What advice would you give to anyone who may want to launch their own LGBTQ publication?
Segal: Note the change in publishing and that, in our community, newspapers are king. By that I mean that they employ more members of our community and reach a larger segment of our community than any other form of LGBT media.