Promotional Spotlight Special Edition: Philadelphia Gay News

Promotional Spotlight Special Edition: Philadelphia Gay News

Philadelphia Gay News offers experience in epidemics to the community during COVID-19

“You know, they actually called us the ‘Philly AIDS News’ back then,” said Mark Segal, publisher of Philadelphia Gay News (PGN), as he shared his and the publication’s experience during the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. “I guess now you could call us the ‘Philly COVID-19 News.’” Segal shared that the experience the LGBTQ community has in dealing with an epidemic serves as a remarkable benefit during the current COVID-19 crisis. PGN is reporting invaluable information and stories that include the impacts of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ community, effects on citizens who are HIV positive and the impact on at-risk and homeless individuals in the Philadelphia community.  Segal said the reporting PGN provides to the community is even more important during COVID-19. “We are the adults in the room – we have been through an epidemic with poor treatment from the government,” he said.

In addition, Segal and his husband, Jason, have been providing daily Facebook live events since the start of the COVID-19 crisis in Pennsylvania as a supplement to the publication that is still printed weekly and updated digitally daily. Segal said the live stream delivers content similar to the publication: everything from news, commentary, arts and entertainment. One of the unique perks of the live events is that they create an archived video upon completion, something that Segal appreciates for his ability to forecast coming news and information.  “The community learned about the need to wear masks from the news media, they learned about the lack of supplies for the medical workers from the news media, they learned about when the first positive cases were discovered from the news media. Journalists are the ones who are saving us,” said Segal. The PGN community has responded with positive feedback to the live streams and the publication they know they can trust.  “We’re still printing,” said Segal. “We’ve never missed a deadline, and we never will.”

As it pertains to the advertising climate during the COVID-19 crisis, Segal says he and his team are being realistic. “It’s no secret that advertising has dropped off, and it’s across the board – daily, weekly, niche publications.” Segal said that PGN has been assisted through grants from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation, Facebook and the contributions and assistance of several different agencies in the Philadelphia area. He says that while the publication has slimmed down slightly due to the lack of advertising, the team remains fully staffed with most working remotely and a couple team members still going into the office throughout the week.

Segal spoke of the Spanish Flu in 1918 and what he says are the two key differences as it relates to the COVID-19 global pandemic: advances in medical science and the power of the news media to provide up-to-date information to the community. Through the COVID-19 crisis, Segal noted the importance of the positivity and relative normalcy that he and his news media peers can offer to their respective communities.  Segal related the information he shared with readers and viewers recently about a drag queen story time, a complimentary online story hour provided by local drag queens. “It’s like I say at the end of every one of my (Facebook) live events,” said Segal. “Try to have some joy in your life today.”

For additional information, contact Mark Segal at 215-925-6626 or