LGBTQ+ media 'excited' about Press Forward national media funds

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Friday September 22, 2023
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News Is Out, a collaborative of six legacy LGBTQ outlets, is excited about the recent announcement of Press Forward, a national initiative to strengthen local media. Image: Courtesy News Is Out
News Is Out, a collaborative of six legacy LGBTQ outlets, is excited about the recent announcement of Press Forward, a national initiative to strengthen local media. Image: Courtesy News Is Out

Members of News Is Out, a collaborative of six legacy LGBTQ+ media organizations, have expressed support and excitement about the recently announced national Press Forward effort to infuse $500 million over the next five years in support of local media in the U.S.

News Is Out members represent more than 200 years of LGBTQ+ news and culture coverage, with two members starting more than 50 years ago.

The Bay Area Reporter, which marked its 50th anniversary in 2021, is one of the publications in the News Is Out collaborative.

"This new effort from foundations, including MacArthur Foundation and Knight Foundation, truly will be a game-changer in the local media space," 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, stated in a news release. "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."

Windy City Times is also a News Is Out member.

In the U.S., 7.1% of adults, or 18 million people, identify as LGBTQ+, according to Gallup. About 21% of Gen Z identifies as LGBTQ+. The media serving this community has been life saving, resource sharing and an integral part of the movement for LGBTQ+ equality, News Is Out officials stated, adding that it continues to fill a vital information need.

According to the September 7 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. Press Forward will enhance local journalism at an unprecedented level to re-center local news as a force for community cohesion; support new models and solutions that are ready to scale; and close longstanding inequities in journalism coverage and practice."

The Knight Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation have been leading the Press Forward effort, the release stated.

News Is Out is supported in part by a technology grant from the Knight Foundation. The program is called the Queer Media Sustainability Lab.

News Is Out is a nearly two-year-old alliance created launched by the Local Media Association, with initial funding from Google News Initiative. In addition to the B.A.R. and Windy City Times, the other member publications are Dallas Voice, Philadelphia Gay News, Washington Blade, and TAGG, a national queer women's magazine. News Is Out members have collaborated on editorial, business, and fundraising opportunities, officials noted.

"LGBTQ+ media has always played a critical role in covering and informing our communities," stated 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."

Dallas Voice publisher Leo Cusimano also brought up the importance of LGBTQ media outlets.

"LGBTQ+ media is needed now more than ever, as our communities face a backlash across this country," stated Cusimano. "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."

According to Press Forward, in addition to the MacArthur and Knight foundations the other initial partners are The Archewell Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, Democracy Fund, Ford Foundation, Mary W. Graham, Glen Nelson Center at American Public Media Group, Heising-Simons Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Joyce Foundation, KFF, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, Lumina Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Outrider Foundation, Rita Allen Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Skyline Foundation, and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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