by Joe Siegel
Members of News Is Out, a collaborative of six legacy LGBTQ media organizations including the Bay Area Reporter and the Dallas Voice, have announced the national Press Forward effort to support local media in the United States.
According to Press Forward’s website: “The goal of this initiative is to catalyze a local news renaissance that will reshape the local news landscape and recenter local journalism as a force for community cohesion, civic participation, and government accountability.
“We seek to fund programs and organizations that will bolster democracy at the local level, support greater diversity, lean into digital technology, develop long-term sustainable models, and help drive demand for the high-quality local news and information necessary for every member of every community to thrive.”
“This new effort from foundations, including MacArthur Foundation and Knight Foundation, truly will be a game-changer in the local media space,” said Tracy Baim, co-founder of Windy City Times, which is part of a Chicago collaborative that is also advocating for local funding in that city. “Local media are critical to covering issues across the country, from LGBTQ+ and environmental issues to education and criminal justice reform. Philanthropy can provide an important complement to other needed revenues to help local media survive and thrive.”
In the U.S., 7.1 percent of adults, or 18 million people, identify as LGBTQ, according to Gallup. About 21 percent of Generation Z identifies as LGBTQ. The media serving this community has been a life saving, resource sharing and integral part of the movement for LGBTQ equality. It continues to fill a vital information need, according to the group.
According to the Press Forward announcement, “A coalition of 22 donors announced Press Forward, a national initiative to strengthen communities and democracy by supporting local news and information with an infusion of more than a half-billion dollars over the next five years.” The Knight Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation have been leading the Press Forward effort.
“LGBTQ+ media has always played a critical role in covering and informing our communities,” said Lynne Brown, publisher of the Washington Blade. “While we have lost dozens of LGBTQ+ news media outlets in recent years, those of us who have survived are thriving in 2023. We have done so because we have innovated and sought new forms of revenue. The News Is Out Collaborative has assisted with support that propels us forward.”
“LGBTQ+ media is needed now more than ever, as our communities face a backlash across this country,” said Leo Cusimano, publisher of Dallas Voice. “By working together in News Is Out, we have formed a strong alliance to help our members in technology training, editorial collaborations and much more. New funds into this ecosystem will be vital to strengthening the network of local LGBTQ+ media in this country.”
News Is Out is a nearly two-year-old alliance launched by the Local Media Association, with initial funding from the Google News Initiative. The members include the Philadelphia Gay News, Dallas Voice, Washington Blade, Bay Area Reporter, Windy City Times and Tagg Magazine, a national queer women’s publication. News Is Out members collaborate on editorial, business and fundraising opportunities.
IN THE NEWS