Philadelphia Gay News will be one of six LGBTQ+ publications in the country to participate in a one-year program to improve long-term sustainability. The Queer Media Sustainability Lab, which begins in July, will help publishers “upgrade their technology stacks, grow their audiences, and explore new revenue streams.” To help with upgrades, the publishers will also receive a $22,500 technology stipend.
Local Media Foundation, with an investment from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will manage the project. LMF also manages Knight x LMA BloomLab, a similar program for Black-owned publications.
The six publications have worked with News Is Out — a collaborative that aims to deliver journalism that connects and engages with the LGBTQ+ community — since 2021.
“This is a major historic step for legacy LGBTQ+ media to embrace new technology,” said PGN publisher Mark Segal. “To have such prestigious leaders in media as Knight Foundation and Local Media Association embracing the value of the informative work we do on our collaborative website News Is Out, and our individual publications, is humbling.”
LMF is part of Local Media Association, where Penny Riordan — who will co-lead the program — serves as director of business strategy and partnerships. Riordan will collaborate with media consultant David Arkin, who has helped media companies launch digital initiatives and grow their audience.
“In my 25-year career working in all types of media, choosing the right tech stack and implementing it is something I’ve seen many media leaders struggle with,” Arkin said in a statement from LMA. “I’m looking forward to helping the six publishers with this challenge and also supporting the sustainability of LGBTQ+-owned media in the process.”
Jim Brady, vice president of journalism for Knight Foundation, said in the same statement that he looks forward to seeing the results.
“Knight funds technology — and other parts of journalism’s infrastructure — because we know how challenging these elements are for publishers,” Brady said. “We are proud to support LGBTQ-owned media through News Is Out because communities everywhere benefit when diverse voices are uplifted, and that’s exactly what this initiative is meant to achieve.”
The other participating publications include Bay Area Reporter, Dallas Voice, Tagg Magazine, Washington Blade and Windy City Times.