Local Media Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of Word Is Out: The Queer Media Collaborative, with initial funding from the Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge ( newsinitiative.withgoogle.com/info/innovation-challenges/funding/north-america/ ) .
The Queer Media Collaborative (QMC) will focus on business sustainability and producing great journalism.
"We are so excited about this unique collaboration for LGBTQ+ media," said Ebone Bell, owner and editor of Tagg Magazine. "This group of media has often been left out of national partnerships, and is new to the philanthropic side of journalism funding. This provides a great opportunity to uplift and transform legacy and new LGBTQ+ media."
Word Is Out marks the sixth news industry collaboration incubated by LMA and LMF. The collaborative will build on the successful model of Word In Black ( wordinblack.com/ ) , which is made up of 10 leading Black publishers in America. Word In Black also received funding from GNI.
Six publishers will participate at the outset:
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco) ( www.ebar.com/ ). Launched in 1971, this weekly newspaper is one of the oldest and a pioneer in LGBTQ+ media.
Dallas Voice The premier media source for LGBTQ Texas ( dallasvoice.com/ ). Publishes every Friday since 1984.
Q Voice News (Los Angeles) (qvoicenews.com/ ). This pioneering online publication created a new space in the L.A. media ecosystem. It is the only digital-first LGBTQ+ news outlet in the greater L.A. area.
Tagg Magazine (National) ( taggmagazine.com/ ). This award-winning and Black queer, woman-owned publication, founded in 2012, is committed to uplifting the voices of all LGBTQ+ women across the country. Tagg was created to serve "everything lesbian, queer and under the rainbow."
Washington Blade (Washington, D.C.) ( www.washingtonblade.com/ ). This weekly publication is the oldest LGBTQ+ newspaper in the U.S. It was launched in 1969.
Windy City Times (Chicago) ( www.windycitytimes.com/ ). Founded in 1985, this legacy LGBTQ+ newspaper and website covers Chicago and its suburbs.
Publishers are in the early stages of planning and setting goals. The group plans to hire a part-time project manager, and will focus on audience listening surveys to better understand the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. Funding from Google News Initiative will cover the initial research and the role of the project manager.
"We are thrilled to support the work of LGBTQ+ publishers through the Word is Out initiative," said Chrissy Towle, Head of News, Americas Partnerships Solutions, Google, "Queer media needs more resources to support their long-term sustainability. This project goes a long way in making that happen. We hope other funders will also step up."
The collaborative will launch a national website and newsletter, supported by a membership model; sponsorships; branded content; and journalism funded by philanthropy. The publishers will look to expand the collaboration to include other LGBTQ+ publishers as funding allows, but lessons learned will be shared with all.
"This project is extremely important to the sustainability of LGBTQ+ media," said Nancy Lane, LMA chief executive officer. "Our goal is to start with this small group of six and quickly expand. We'll draw heavily on the learnings from Word In Black to guide our strategy."
About Local Media Association / Local Media Foundation
Local Media Association brings all media together to share, network, collaborate and more. More than 3,000 newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, digital-only publications, and research and development partners engage with LMA as members or constituents of our programs. As a 501(c)(6) trade association, LMA is focused on the business side of local media. Its programs and labs focus on revenue growth and new business models. LMA helps local media companies develop their strategies via cutting-edge programs, conferences, webinars, research and training.
Local Media Foundation serves as the innovation and transformation affiliate of LMA. More than 2,000 local media executives have participated in progressive and innovative LMF programs. Incorporating our four strategic pillars ( localmedia.org/strategic-pillars/ ) business transformation ) localmedia.org/strategic-pillars/business-transformation/ ), journalism funded by philanthropy ( localmedia.org/strategic-pillars/journalism-funded-by-philanthropy/ ), industry collaboration (localmedia.org/strategic-pillars/sustainability-for-publishers-of-color-diversity-equity-and-inclusion/ ), and sustainability for publishers of color LMF helps provide local media companies the strategies and resources for meaningful innovation and impactful journalism projects.