[CHICAGO] Members of News Is Out, a collaborative of six legacy LGBTQ+ media organizations, have expressed support and excitement about the newly announced national Press Forward effort to support local media in the United States. News Is Out members represent more than 200 years of LGBTQ+ news and culture coverage, with two members starting more than 50 years ago.
"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%of adults, or 18 million people, identify as LGBTQ+, according to Gallup. About 21 percent 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. It continues to fill a vital information need.
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. 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.
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. The members are Bay Area Reporter, Dallas Voice, Philadelphia Gay News, Washington Blade, Windy City Times, and TAGG, a national queer women's magazine. News Is Out members have collaborated on editorial, business and fundraising opportunities.
"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 the 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 pioneering national collaborative of the leading local queer news publishers. The collaborative includes six of the leading local and queer-owned LGBTQ+ publishers across the nation and operates as part of the Local Media Association/Local Media Foundation.
Local Media Association works with 3,000+ newspapers, broadcasters, digital news sites and R&D partners to help achieve their business goals. Local Media Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable trust, leads innovative programs that promote sustainability of journalism and news media. Collaboration is one of LMA's four strategic pillars, and LMA has launched and supports several collaboratives, including: Word In Black, Covering Climate, and Oklahoma Media Center.