Norm Kent, venerable South Florida Gay News publisher, steps down
by Fred Kuhr
Norm Kent, co-founder and publisher of Wilton Manors, Fla.-based South Florida Gay News (SFGN), announced in September that he was stepping down. Jason Parsley, who was the newspaper’s executive editor, was named Kent’s successor.
Kent’s decision follows more than a year of medical issues, including a stroke, cancer, COVID-19 and a brain tumor. His first surgery was in July 2022, and in September — just after making his announcement — he underwent a second brain surgery. The second surgery was to remove a benign but aggressive and growing tumor, SFGN reported.
“I have to now face the truth that I am no longer who I once was, or want to be. Medical compromises have dictated otherwise,” Kent wrote in his newspaper’s September 8, 2022, issue. “Part of love is letting go of the reins; trusting another to move the herd forward. Jason Parsley now has that chance. Please continue to support SFGN as you have me, with your dedication and dollars, having the patience and perseverance to make our free paper better online daily, and in print weekly.”
That issue’s front page showcased a full-page photo of Kent with the headline, “A Time for Change.”
Kent published the Express Gay News in Florida before launching SFGN in 2010 with business partner Piero Guidugli, who left the company in 2020.
Parsley started at SFGN in 2011 as its managing editor. He has also worked as the newspaper’s editor in chief, executive editor and associate publisher. Additionally, Kent announced that Justin Wyse, the newspaper’s sales director and marketing director, would serve as associate publisher.
“From the day I was hired at SFGN I have fervently believed in this newspaper and its mission,” Parsley said in the newspaper. “Norm has many passions in life — from marijuana, and his lifelong love of baseball, to free speech and journalism. I don’t know much about baseball, but I do know about journalism. Independent LGBT media is needed more than ever in our community. I will do my best to continue Norm’s publishing legacy while infusing my own love and passion for LGBT news into SFGN.”
While Kent is stepping away from the daily operations of the newspaper, he is not finished with his work.
“My trip into the sunset will include establishing the SFGN Foundation, crafted to support young LGBTQ journalism in their schools. This necessary step allows me the freedom to work on continuing medical issues which now compromise my physical and cognitive capacities,” Kent wrote. “SFGN will continue to function daily and weekly, with the highest level of proficiency and professionalism.”
“Life is truly a circle game that goes round and round and passes the torch to a new generation,” Kent added. “Enjoy to the fullest every precious moment. Fight on, I will be there with you.”
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