Seattle’s SGN newspaper names new editor

by Fred Kuhr

Renee Raketty, who has been with SGN since 2001, is the new editor of the newspaper now celebrating its 50th year. The announcement comes after a period of transition for the newspaper, formerly known as Seattle Gay News.

New SGN Editor Renee Raketty

Longtime editor and publisher George Bakan, a fixture in Seattle’s LGBTQ community, led the newspaper from 1983 until his untimely death in 2020. Subsequently, Bakan’s daughter Angela Cragin took over as owner and publisher. With an outpouring of community support, she chose to keep the business running as she spearheaded a rebrand and restructuring.

In 2023, SGN was acquired by Ocean Shores, Wash.-based Stratus Group, LLC. With the ownership transfer also came a publisher transfer, from Cragin to Mike Schultz, owner of Stratus Group, which also publishes the online bimonthly LGBTQ newsmagazine Coastal Pride.

Under Cragin’s tenure, contributing writer Benny Loy was named acting editor. Loy has since stepped down to allow Raketty to take the reigns.

“[During Loy’s editorship], she has filled critical functions, particularly during the SGN’s ownership transition,” said publisher Schultz in a message to the staff, as reported by SGN. “We’re grateful for the many hats Benny has had to wear, always with a smile and positive support, and we’re very happy she will stay with us as a contributor.”

Loy told the newspaper, ”My primary goal was to keep it going, at least until we hit our 50th, because it would be the biggest shame if we fell apart at our 49th. Also, [I wanted to] try to keep the amazing team we had together.”

Raketty started writing for SGN in 2001 and became managing editor in 2005. She has also written for the Seattle Gay Standard, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, Tacoma Weekly, Unite Seattle Magazine, and various other publications.

On top of being the SGN’s newest editor, she is also a field producer for Malcontent News and a member of the Trans Journalists Association, NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and the Society of Professional Journalists, according to SGN. The newspaper noted that she was integral in the evolution of SGN’s production process from a physical cut-and-paste method to utilizing digital technology in the early 2000s.

“[Schultz] asked me [to be an editor] because of my previous experience working as a managing editor and my knowledge of the paper,” Raketty said. “I think that this is an important year for someone with [such] historical knowledge, especially because it’s our 50th anniversary. I’m someone who is deeply [familiar with] the people who came before us who really put their blood, sweat, and tears into this paper.”

As editor, she said she will strive to maintain the SGN’s position as a voice for the queer community and diligent watchdog regarding important issues.

“It’s really great to be back at the paper,” Raketty said, “especially as someone who is transgender, in a position where I can ensure that the community stands together as the transgender community faces the same vitriol and onslaught that we faced in the ’90s and 2000s. I think it will be helpful to have someone who has that perspective providing editorial oversight.”

Volume 26
Issue 2

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