Saturday, October 31, 2009

Response from The Advocate

Dear David,

I wanted to take a moment to speak to the inaccuracies of your story and to the strength of The Advocate brand.

Clearly, 2009 has been one of the most challenging economic periods for all businesses in the United States. Moving strong, lean businesses forward in 2010 requires that business models adapt. This company cares very much about the history of the most important LGBT national news brand and is making careful and thoughtful decisions to ensure its survival and to position it for growth. We are reorganizing departments to make that happen. That said, we are all very grateful for the work our departing staff members contributedā€¹just as we are of those who continue to work with the company.

First, The Advocate staff has not been "gutted" as you write. We are, however, making strategic and sometimes difficult staff changes in order to support all iterations of The Advocate brand. The print expression (which will vary in size from month to month as it always has), will continue on its monthly schedule. Our website (which has quadrupled its traffic in the past 16 months) will be relaunched early next year with enhanced technology that will add dimension to the breaking news and features stories our editors and reporters are already delivering on a several-times-a-day basis.

So what does that mean for The Advocate reader? We'll still ask tough questions of the White House press secretary around issues like DADT, we'll still deliver online live video coverage of key events like today's passage of the Ryan White Care Act, and we'll report critical news around topics like the Defense of Marriage Act -- only now you'll get more of it (in a more timely manner) than ever before.

The Advocate brand will also expand, as previously announced, to include a monthly hour-long television magazine that will be broadcast on our sister brands here! TV and Gay.com and of course on Advocate.com. We are currently in production, and on schedule, for the show's February launch. Modeled after CBS's tremendously esteemed 60 Minutes, this program will explore the critical issues of the day through the Advocate lens.

All Advocate subscribers will continue to receive their print editions of the magazine, and editor in chief Jon Barrett (who is still employed with the company despite an earlier Queerty report that he had been fired) has been promoted to Advocate editorial director overseeing all expressions of extensions of the brand.

With regard to HIV Plus magazine, it will continue to be published under the leadership of editor in chief Michael Edwards. In fact, while Queerty was propagating this inaccurate story, our staff was working closely with AIDS Project Los Angeles in preparation for a fundraiser for the group (in conjunction with HIV Plus) at the home of our CEO Paul Colichman.

Speaking of Mr. Colichman and our chairman, Stephen Jarchow. These two men have invested a great deal of time, energy, and resources not only into building a vibrant, collaborative workplace but into rebuilding, sustaining, and growing some of our community's most important brands. Mr. Jarchow has passed on his commitment to the LGBT community to his lesbian daughter, Boo, who in addition to working at The Advocate and on Shewired.com, was an instrumental young leader in organizing last month's March on Washington. I hope other young people follow her good example as we all need to part of the solution for LGBT equality. One final note on your personal attacks: Mr. Colichman takes great umbrage to the characterization that he prances around the office; he pictures himself much more as an optimistic skipper. We have that from "multiple sources."

Here Media continues to evolve and integrate its many properties with care and respect in challenging times. In fact, The Advocate -- throughout its four decades of service -- is a great model when it comes to embracing change. It began in 1967 as a mimeographed newsletter, evolved into a broadsheet newspaper, transitioned into a tabloid, and then blossomed in its current glossy iteration. The Advocate will continue to grow -- especially online and on air -- while maintaining its high standards in print.

On Wednesday, thousands of Advocate readers went to Advocate.com to watch live video coverage of long-overdue passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. No other news site in the world thought the moment was important enough to cover live, but The Advocate did -- and the Advocate will continue to do so.

Stephen Macias
Senior Vice President, Regent Media, LLC