LGBTQ+-owned news organizations are essential to a healthy media ecosystem. That is why six of the nation’s oldest queer media news publications will participate in the Queer Media Sustainability Lab, a new program to improve their long-term sustainability.

The lab, launching in July, will be managed by Local Media Foundation and will benefit from an investment from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The one-year program will help publishers upgrade their technology stacks, grow their audiences, and explore new revenue streams.

The six publishers will receive technology stipends of $22,500 to help with upgrades.

LMF manages a similar program, the Knight x LMA BloomLab, focused on sustainability for Black-owned publications.

Jim Brady, vice president of journalism for Knight Foundation, said he looks forward to seeing the results of the lab.

“Knight funds technology – and other parts of journalism’s infrastructure – because we know how challenging these elements are for publishers,” he 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.”

Penny Riordan, LMA’s director of business strategy and partnerships, will co-lead the program with well-known media consultant David Arkin. A former LMA Digital News Innovator of the Year, Arkin has worked to help news media companies grow audiences and launch digital initiatives.

“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. I’m looking forward to helping the six publishers with this challenge and also supporting the sustainability of LGBTQ+-owned media in the process,” Arkin said.

The six participating publishers are already working collaboratively in News is Out, whose mission is to deliver compelling journalism that engages, amplifies and connects the LGBTQ+ community.

Riordan has worked with the publishers since November 2021, when the collaborative formed.

Tracy Baim, co-founder and co-owner of the Windy City Times, said she looks forward to participating in the project.

“Our small team at the Windy City Times has wanted and needed to make technology improvements for a long time, but hasn’t had the time, expertise or funds. This program will help us do that.”

Here are the six participating publishers:

  • Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco): 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, publishing every Friday since 1984.
  • Tagg Magazine (National): 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.): This weekly publication is the oldest LGBTQ+ newspaper in the U.S. It was launched in 1969.
  • Windy City Times (Chicago): Founded in 1985, this legacy LGBTQ+ newspaper and website covers Chicago and its suburbs.
  • Philadelphia Gay News (Philadelphia): The largest and oldest publication targeting the LGBTQ+ community, started in 1976.

About Knight Foundation

We are social investors who support a more effective democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once published newspapers.

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 pure-plays, 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, a 501(c)(3) charitable trust, serves as the innovation and transformation affiliate of LMA. Incorporating our four strategic pillarsbusiness transformation, journalism funded by philanthropy, industry collaboration, and sustainability for publishers of color — LMF helps provide local media companies the strategies and resources for meaningful innovation and impactful journalism projects.