Norm Kent Announces Debut of New GLBT Weekly, ‘South Florida Gay News.com’Gay News, Straight FactsFort Lauderdale attorney Norm Kent announced today the inauguration of a new GLBT newsweekly, published under the banner of “South Florida Gay News.com”
Nicknamed ‘SFGN,’ Kent said he purposely chose a hard copy newspaper name with a “dot com” in the masthead “in order to accommodate and acknowledge; promote and link the diverse media platforms a 21st century newspaper has to deliver. Our website will be up and running before the paper is actually published and distributed.”
A South Florida attorney for 30 years, in 1999 Kent founded and published the very first credible GLBT weekly newspaper in Broward County, The Express Gay News. Mr. Kent sold The Express to Unite Media in December of 2003, which then published the paper under the banner of first The Express and then the South Florida Blade, until last month, when the corporation filed for bankruptcy protection in federal district court in Atlanta. Kent explained the name of his former paper, The Express, is tied up in the bankruptcy courts, and may be unavailable for months, as trustees sort out creditor issues.
Kent indicated that SFGN will be published and distributed on Mondays, tabloid size, commencing in January of 2010, and over 12,000 copies will be distributed to 300 plus locations in Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. The paper will be published on high quality, heavy weight stock by Miami Offset. “We are going to deliver a handsome, local, hometown product, and our service providers will benefit our neighborhood businesses,” Kent stated, faulting the publishers of Unite Media for “losing touch with the community I intended the paper to serve.”
Kent stated that he had signed a long term lease for the primary newspaper office in the heart of Wilton Manors, at 2520 North Dixie Highway, adjacent to the CVS pharmacy at Five Points. The Manors is one of the fastest growing gay communities in the United States. Kent also indicated that “later in the year” there would be a satellite office in Dade County as well. “We have contracted for digital phones, modern computers, upgraded printers, and independent distributors. It’s a project, but we are getting there.”
Kent said the first issue of The Express was published January 24, 2000, and that he expects the first issue of SFGN is expected to be on the streets January 25, 2010, if not sooner. “It’s a kharma thing.”
Kent indicated that he will bring back some of his best feature columnists, who formerly wrote with the Express, along with the popular cartoonists and writers. Correspondents, such as Jesse Monteagudo, formerly with The Weekly News, are already working on features for the debut issue. The paper will include local writers such as Pier Guidugli, established columnists such as Jennifer Vanasco, and nationally known authors such as Wayne Besen. “We are a work still in progress. There are openings for creative talent.”
The web design for www.southfloridagaynews.com will be handled by Tom Forcella and the newspaper graphics by George Dauphin. News on the website will be updated daily with videos and interactive commentary.
Kent promised that “The bottom line is that we are going to publish a fiercely independent publication, a credible and legitimate weekly newspaper, which will feature topical news, cutting-edge issues, outspoken columnists, and articles capturing the breadth and diversity of gay life.” Kent added that “as The Express once was a hard-hitting meaningful paper people sought to read, so too will the SFGN soon be.”
Kent noted that former staffers at his old paper have reached significant stature: “Ian Drew is an editor at US Weekly, Andy Zeffer has published a book, Kevin Hopper went on to become a publisher, and Jeff Palmer and Drew Middleton have started their own design and IT companies. Mike James, though he sadly passed away just a few weeks ago, became a film producer. Mary Damiano is an established critic. In fact, one of our very first issues at SFGN will feature the achievements of those past contributors.”
A constitutional rights and criminal defense attorney in Broward County, Kent has been a legal advocate of gay rights in South Florida for three decades. Recently, his law firm, Kent & Cormican, P.A., won a $45,000 judgment against the State of Florida for domestic partners who were falsely arrested in a state park. In 2007, he won an acquittal for numerous gay men who were unlawfully entrapped by law enforcement agencies by illegal undercover activities. In 1991, when 200 gay men were improperly detained by the Broward Sheriff’s Office in a bar raid at the Copa, he successfully brought a class action on behalf of those patrons, securing a consent judgment which led to BSO donating money to an AIDS agency.
The law offices of Norm Kent and Russell Cormican (Kent & Cormican, P.A.) are located in the 110 Tower in Fort Lauderdale, directly opposite the courthouse at 110 S.E. 6th Street, Suite 1970. Their telephone number is 954 763 1900, and they provide legal services in the field of criminal defense and constitutional rights.
Kent stated that “The Express was the culmination of my life as a gay rights advocate. I let it go in order to preserve it for posterity, and the big-shot corporation with its fancy budgets blew it and went broke. I learned a life lesson again- that if you love something, keep it close to your heart, invest in it with sweat and tears, and don’t let it go.”
Acknowledging the downturn of the economy and the decreasing market for newspapers, Kent added that the newspaper, which will be free, needs the support of the GLBT business community. “The gay community is more than bars and bathhouses. We are businesspersons and professionals. If I deliver a quality product, the community will make it work.”
Kent is also well known for his long time experience as the highly rated morning drive talk show host for WFTL-850 AM. He later hosted a weekly radio show titled 'Weekend Legal' on WWNN-1470 AM. Today, he publishes his comments about South Florida justice on The Broward Law Blog at www.browardlawblog.com and writes weekly commentaries for the popular online liberal newsletter, Counterpunch, at www.counterpunch.org
Headquartered in Wilton Manors, at 2520 North Dixie Highway, the phone number for SFGN is 954-530-4970.?