Christmas in June

“Christmas in June: For many LGBT media outlets, Pride is a make-or-break month” is the top story in the June 2012 edition of Press Pass Q:

Just as Christmas and Halloween fuel an economic boom, so do the month-long celebrations of Pride, for gay media outlets and businesses, pack a financial punch as the potential for advertising revenue abounds.

“From a business perspective, this month for us is like August in Provincetown,” said Sue O’Connell, editor-in-chief and co-publisher of Boston-based Bay Windows. “We either make it or break it. This is our December.”

All of which raises some questions. What role do LGBT media outlets play in covering, if not promoting, Pride? How do gay publications interact with Pride committees? What makes Pride still relevant to and necessary for the movement and its media?

The article by Chuck Colbert goes on to cite examples from across the country where there are seeming overlaps and potential conflicts:

As summertime approaches, three of the nation’s largest and most visible Pride celebrations culminate on June 24, in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.

In those localities, Pride organizing committees publish their own Pride Guides, in effect becoming short-term gay media outlets.

Take the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee. It publishes two annual print publications, called Inside Pride and Pocket Pride. …

From time to time, however, necessity requires LGBT media to perform its journalistic, public-interest watchdog role over Pride organizers.

In 2010 and 2011, for instance, BAR [Bay Area Reporter] provided “extensive coverage” of SF Pride “as it was imploding due to poor management,” [BAR editor Cynthia] Laird explained. “Last year was a rebuilding year for them financially, and they did in fact overcome their debt.”

I see no problem with LGBT media outlets benefiting from Pride. This is a tension found in many, if not all, niche media outlets.

That said, the appearance of impropriety can often be worse than any actual transgression. When, if ever, does the coziness get too cozy?

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