SFGN and You

Radio Show online, National Gay News Website,Apps and Quarterly Magazine Headline Expansion

It was November of 2009, and all around us professionals in the media were talking about how newspapers were dinosaurs, folding fast and furiously from coast to coast. So what did I do? I guess what I have always done. I bucked the tide and started one.

This is one expensive project, from the necessary use of modern technology and computers, professional writers and columnists, layout, design, graphics, printing, distribution, electronics and networks. It can be overwhelming.  And then what do we do? We give away the paper for free.

While our goal is to record the LGBT history of South Florida in a responsible way, we can only do it with your help here and not on a bus bench someone sits on. Over 200 advertisers have joined our pages in two years. They come here because they get bang for their buck. They know people are picking up and reading our paper, not only in over 500 distribution spots in three counties, but everyday online at www.sfgn.com. This week, we unveil an app on Android, next week on Apple. The paper will be easier for you to read online.

There is nothing more rewarding then hearing someone like Al Cicotte at American Tax and Insurance say "within two weeks of us placing our ad in your paper, we acquired a new client's investment portfolio worth over a half million dollars…" Our business makes you business- and legitimate customers understand we can't pay our bills with drink coupons.

Weekly, someone comes up to me to compliment the paper for being so reputable. I am grateful for the kind words, but in my shadow, standing by me, has been a remarkable and gutsy CEO and business partner, Pier Angelo Guidugli. He invested his faith in me and embraced my vision that a quality LGBT newspaper can survive the heat of southern Florida. He did that even while losing his own life partner of 20 years this past year. We invite you to join with us to create a publication our community can be proud of for decades to come.

First and foremost, we are the only LGBT publication in town that is a member of the Florida PressAssociation and the Associated Press, enhancing our weekly print edition with online updates at sfgn.com daily. And for those that want national features, next week we launch www.nationalgaynews.com as well.

Second, we publish an acclaimed regular supplement devoted to HIV reporting. ‘The Spirit’ has won recognition for keeping AIDS reporting in the headlines. Each of the issues can be viewed at their own site, www.sfgn.com/thespirit.

Third, our quarterly content driven magazine, recently renamed The Mirror, features a breadth of credible LGBT content. Our next issue comes out January 23, and it is going to knock your socks off.

Fourth, our social commitment has enabled us to support the Stonewall Library, AIDS fundraisers, the Pride Center at Equality Park and countless others. Giving to those who give to us makes us all whole.

Fifth, I am happy to announce today that in the next few weeks SFGN will be launching an online radio show, accessible on our website, at www. SFGN.com. ‘Equalizer Radio,’ will feature many of our community leaders- from candidates to comedians, reflecting and remarking about LGBT life.

By the way, I hate ‘Best Of’ issues. There are so many good people in our community working so hard to do so many good things. I hate to suggest one is better than the other. We are all part of a larger circle working to make our lives valuable and our community respectable. This year we had more than 500 votes. But that number barely touches how large our community is.

There is much we have done, and much more we are going to do.  We will report the news, good and bad, warts and wounds, whether hailing our heroes or exposing our failures. This is not the 'Happy Herald.'  We publish newsworthy stories whether they involve LGBT victories or scams. Very simply, that is what a credible, legitimate, conscientious community newspaper must do.

We will never be a book of ads, but boy, we need to book ads to prosper and survive. While there is no doubt about that, we will never let someone's ads today govern what we print tomorrow.

All we have to sell to you to make this happen is the limited real estate in our paper, or a banner on our website. But as I said in opening, that little ad carries a lot of bang. Historically, the LGBT community supports those who support their community newspapers.  That means advertisers prosper and we get to grow. So support the people who support us, and may you find health and happiness, hope and fulfillment as you begin the New Year, holding in your hand the 100th edition of the South Florida Gay News.

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