The Last Page with Tampa Bay Bureau Chief Ryan Williams-Jent

By : Rick Claggett
Comments: 2

Since former editor-in-chief Steve Blanchard departed Watermark to work for the Moffitt Cancer Center and Jeremy Williams returned to Orlando, we have been looking for someone to take the reins in Tampa Bay.

At a Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce meeting, one of their board members approached Jeremy about a potential freelancer who was interested in covering news. It’s rare to find someone who isn’t looking to cover just entertainment or who is looking to become the next Carrie Bradshaw, so we were excited about the prospect.

Jeremy gave Ryan Williams-Jent his first news assignment shortly after getting his information. We were immediately impressed and within days expanded his freelance position. It was just a matter of time, and timing, before he would be offered a full time position as our top editorial staff member in Tampa Bay.

“I cover the Tampa Bay area’s news, arts & entertainment and events,” Ryan says of his position at Watermark. It’s a few words that describe a big job. As a publisher, you want employees who have a passion for what they do. “I love writing and I love being a part of the LGBTQ community,” Ryan continues. “In today’s age, both the free press and LGBTQ rights are under fire, and we need to amplify our voices. There’s no greater local source for that for us, by us.”

What makes us lucky to have Ryan is that his passion is backed up by his talent. Ryan’s favorite thing about working for Watermark is “helping to educate and inform our community while being in a position for the community to do the same for me.”

Ryan gets his inspiration from his professional role model, Stan Lee. “He used fiction to fight against the marginalization of minorities in a time when very few did,” Ryan says, “And he didn’t even create Spider-Man until he was 40!”

“My favorite thing about the LGBTQ community is that we’re resilient,” Ryan says. “I’d like to see us improve with stronger relations between each respective letter. We’re better when we’re a united front.”

Ryan lives in St. Petersburg with his newlywed husband, Wade, and their two dogs, Riverboat Cap’n and Howard the Dog. Ryan is most recognized at Watermark for his healthy and completely normal appreciation of Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

Watermark is the collective product of a team of incredibly hardworking individuals. Over the next series of issues, we’re using this space to introduce each member of our staff and contributors to you. When you see us out and about in the community, stop and say, “Hello.” We’d love to meet you.

Age: 33

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Identifies As: Gay

Out Year: 2001

Hire Date: 12/11/2017

Professional Role Model: Stan Lee

Autobiography Title: Will You Hold My Pop?

Hobbies: Comic books and their inevitable films, puzzles, chasing our dogs back and forth

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