Two former GLT staff members, Tim Holmberg and Christina MacNeal, are now business partners working to revive the publication, which they became the owners of last month.
They’re running a crowd-funding campaign through IndieGoGo, with a goal of raising $20,000 for equipment and other expenses. The campaign will end Aug. 15, around which time Holmberg and MacNeal hope to launch an updated GLT website. Looking beyond the crowd-funding campaign, they’re interested in establishing a “writers’ collective” and raising money to support content with a public radio-like model.
Holmberg is a former GLT staff writer who moved into the sales department. He went on to work for another publication, but he continued to freelance for GLT until in 2010 it was shut down amidst allegations that it inflated circulation numbers that it presented to advertisers and had other financial troubles. MacNeal, who contributed to LGBT and mainstream outlets prior to joining the GLT staff, was the last editor the publication had before closing. The print paper stopped production in October 2010, and long-time publisher Michael Portantino died in an apparent suicide two months later. Portantino and his former business partner, Jim Krupiarz, bought the San Diego Gay Times in 1989 and renamed it the Gay & Lesbian Times to reflect its more inclusive coverage of the LGBT community.
“We always wanted to do this,” said Holmberg, who said he and MacNeal want to “take the heritage of the Gay & Lesbian Times and take it to the next generation … We were very honored that [Portantino’s family] would trust us with the heritage of that publication.”
Holmberg and MacNeal stress the multi-media approach they want to take in reviving the GLT. The website will be re-tooled, and the content will include videos and podcasts. They’d like to phase in a print product at some point, though it would be largely geared toward attracting traffic to the website.
MacNeal said that she’s excited to revive the GLT and that she sees a need for it in San Diego.
“I think it’s certainly timely, and it’s very needed,” she said. “We have a vibrant community and we have a large market for it.”
She says one thing she loved about the GLT was that it offered inclusive coverage of the entire LGBT community.
“That is something that is extremely important to me,” she said. “We don’t have that voice any more.”
San Diego’s other LGBT media include Gay San Diego, a print newspaper published every two weeks and an accompanying website owned by San Diego Community News Network; San Diego LGBT Weekly, which publishes a print newspaper every two weeks and has a web site, and San Diego Gay & Lesbian News (SDGLN), which exists solely online.
Each of those publications has its shortcomings. Gay San Diego, whose publisher is David Mannis, a heterosexual man, carries relatively little local news. San Diego LGBT Weekly also carries little local news, mostly offering up a summary of LGBT news from around the world. San Diego Gay and Lesbian News is published by Hale Media, whose owner, Johnathan Hale, is the controversial president of the Hillcrest Business Association. Hillcrest is the predominantly LGBT neighborhood in San Diego. Hale’s management of the business association has been a source of controversy in the local LGBT community that his news organization doesn’t cover.