OpEd: SFGN and The Mirror Are Celebrating Their Anniversaries

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Next Wednesday, January 27, the South Florida Gay News will celebrate its sixth anniversary, from 7 to 9 p.m., with a two-hour cocktail party and buffet at Hunter’s Lounge on Wilton Drive in the Manors.

You are invited to the event, catered by Beefcake’s Café at the Boardwalk, where we present our 2015 Achievements in Excellence award winners, Anthony Timiraos, Julie Carson, and Mark Hunter.

The nominal donation we are asking you to make for entry is ten dollars, to benefit Poverello’s Food Bank and the Pet Project.

I can use this editorial to talk about our history of 300 plus issues and 19,000 articles, or our amazing online site, SFGN.com, where we get over 50,000 unique visitors per month. Surviving as a print newspaper in a digital age is no small accomplishment.

While we advertise ourselves as your local paper, with global coverage, we are not the world. We don’t want to be. We want to simply be your reliable, local, home grown community newspaper, with authentic local writers and homegrown LGBT content.

When we publish our stories, controversial but credible, we welcome your replies and criticisms. Unhesitatingly, we will allow you to critique, condemn, and censure us. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Trash me all you want. I did talk radio for twelve years. There is nothing you can say that I have not heard. It’s okay. You are entitled to your opinion, as I am mine.

Where we are wrong, we will apologize. Indeed, we have. Where we are right, and the story is newsworthy, we will stand by our work. We are not here to be the gay community’s personal fluffer. When we are right, we stand together. When we are wrong, we have to be brave enough to stand corrected, warts and wounds exposed. An experienced and award winning journalist, our Executive Editor, Jason Parsley, makes sure of that.

This anniversary also marks the beginning of a new and bold entrepreneurial venture for SFGN. While the Mirror Magazine has been quarterly, beginning with this week’s winter issue, our Arts and Entertainment Guide, we will be coming out every other month.

Our sales team, led by Mike Trottier and Justin Wyse, aided by Cindy Curtis, Jim Albright and Eddie Nieman, will be aggressively selling it. Forgive us, but like our other publications, we are FREE to you. We can only do that because you have supported us with your advertising dollars. You don’t do that to be charitable to us. We all sink or swim on our own. You do that because you get bang for your book, a readable, popular magazine that is aesthetically pleasing and consistently interesting. You can proudly display it in your office conference room or on the coffee table in your living room.

Like our newspaper, the Mirror is chock full of courageous content and modern design. This week, as in the past, we have two unique covers, featuring Peter Max, and over two-dozen original, locally created feature stories, from an interview with William Shatner to a favorite of mine, the “most popular LGBT films that straight people should see.” Brendon Lies, SFGN’s Art Director and 2015 Employee of the Year artistically created our magazine.

In the past six months, SFGN has added 20 new distribution boxes with three individual slots, so we can now better display the Mirror, the Guide to the Drive, and our weekly newspaper in one distinctive red rack. You should be seeing them all over tour distribution network, which extends to over 400 locations in 3 counties, including all the major tri rail stops. We are not just for gay people. Our news is intriguing and inviting for a progressive community.

Just as there are more outdoor racks coming to your neighborhood in the next few weeks, so do we have a wealth of indoor newspaper display racks in our warehouse. If you want one, need one, just give us a call at 954-530-4970. Or stop by our office at 2520 North Dixie Highway in Wilton Manors. We are in the same accessible and visible location for six years, and we will be for the next sixty. Our goal is to be here for you.

I started publishing the Express Gay News in Wilton Manors in 1999. After four years, I sold out to a syndicate that paid me a lot of money. I learned that the money comes and goes, but the spirit of a community lasts a lifetime. And I am going to be here at this paper for the rest of mine.

Partnering with Pier Guidugli, we undertook to start SFGN, promising to deliver you a paper you can be proud of. Now a member of the National Gay Media Association, sharing content with CNN, AP, and the Sun Sentinel, we have stood our ground and there abided.

Of that, I am most proud.

When you pick up SFGN, whether you realize it or not, you are reading perhaps the largest weekly LGBT newspaper in America. Just as our friends at Hotspots!, publish the largest weekly LGBT magazine in the U.S., we come to you with a quality product, published responsibly, delivered reliably, and distributed honestly.

We are only here because of you. Thank you so much.

See you next week.


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