#FreePress: We are not the enemy of the people; we are the people

By : The Watermark Editorial Team
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Beginning Aug. 16, prompted by The Boston Globe, over 400 news outlets nationwide shared their support for the free press and their opposition to Donald Trump’s relentless attacks on it.

“A central pillar of President Trump’s politics is a sustained assault on the free press. Journalists are not classified as fellow Americans, but rather ‘The enemy of the people,’” the outlet wrote. “This relentless assault on the free press has dangerous consequences. We asked editorial boards from around the country – liberal and conservative, large and small – to join us today to address this fundamental threat in their own words.”

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Watermark is hiring: Multimedia Assistant

By : Jeremy Williams
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Watermark is seeking a full-time multimedia assistant. The multimedia assistant will maintain, as well as create, content for our website, WatermarkOnline.com. They will handle all Watermark social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.), organize and promote Watermark contests and support the business manager with administrative duties.

This is an on-site position at our Orlando office. This is an entry-level position for a self-motivated, multi-faceted worker seeking to thrive in a challenging, fast paced environment. Position includes health insurance benefits, dental and 401K options.

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Vote for your Orlando Fringe favorites in the second annual Watermark Splash Awards

By : Watermark Staff
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Orlando Fringe has officially kicked off and this year’s festival is already buzzing about some amazing shows and brillant performances.

Just as we started last year, we want to know what are readers think about the shows and which ones are the best of the beat in LGBTQ-themed theater, so here we are back with the second annual Watermark Splash Awards.

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4.19.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I haven’t always loved my job. Who loves anything all of the time? Even a parent who loves their child might want to slap them “into the middle of next week” occasionally. So I hear. I don’t have children, but I have adorable dogs that drive me crazy as much as they warm my heart.

I remember I was at a low point in 2004 with my career at Watermark. The repetition of an administrative assistant position with a local niche newspaper was taking its toll on me. I was young, stupid and combative. Up to this point, I never held a job for more than a year and a half and I was currently over two years at Watermark. I was starting to get antsy, so I looked for another job. Walt Disney World accepted me to their entertainment team as a production assistant and I took a few days off at Watermark to enroll in the Disney training class known as Traditions. The only thing left to do was put in my notice and leave.

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The Last Page with Founder and Guiding Light Tom Dyer

By : Rick Claggett
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Founder Tom Dyer sold Watermark two years ago, but remains and will forever be the newspaper’s guiding light. His law office is next door, so we see him several times a day when he crosses the parking lot to raid our refrigerator and steal office supplies. Always the diplomat, he offers opinions when asked and reassurance when needed.

Tom first envisioned Watermark back in the spring of 1994. “I was in Atlanta having lunch at a restaurant in Virginia Highlands, where everyone seemed to be reading Southern Voice,” Tom recalls. “I started fantasizing about people sitting in cafes in Thornton Park reading Central Florida’s LGBT newspaper. The idea was so invigorating that I drove to Southern Voice’s offices and asked to meet its publishers. They loaded me down with all kinds of information, and for the next several months it was all I could think about.”

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The Last Page with Art Director Jake Stevens

By : Rick Claggett
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Jake Stevens is approaching his 11-year anniversary with Watermark, making him the most senior staff member outside of the owner.

“I needed a job where I not only could push myself as an artist and contribute to my community in a meaningful way, but feel valued as an employee,” says Jake. Watermark provided him the space he needed to do just that.

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2016 was the worst year ever, and 2017 was the year we found our footing

By : Jeremy Williams
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In these very pages one year ago we proclaimed 2016 to be the worst year ever. It started off with so much promise and optimism, with the official passing of the torch as the former owner of Watermark turned the reins over to new owner Rick Claggett and Watermark Media became Watermark Publishing Group.

President Barack Obama was heading into the final year of his second term and everything seemed in place for another torch to be passed, that of the first black president passing the country off to the first female president.

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Watermark’s 2018 WAVE Awards – Tampa Bay nomination round

By : Watermark Staff
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Welcome to 2018! It’s that time of year where we make New Year’s resolutions, set goals and do the WAVE!!!

The WAVE Awards, or as Watermark Awards for Variety and Excellence, recognize the best in Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ community in the areas of activism, service, entertainment and more.

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10.5.17 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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On June 11, 2016, I was out celebrating the birthday of a co-worker and friend. We had plans to have dinner, see a movie and possibly hit a local hot spot to end the festivities. We had a friend with us who spent every Saturday night at Pulse and we were prepared for him to drag us older fellows out there.

The restaurant was crowded so the wait for the table was over an hour. This changed the course of the evening. We missed our movie and had to settle for a later, more obscure film called The Lobster. The birthday boy was ecstatic because we ended up seeing the movie he wanted to see anyway.

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7.27.17 Founder’s Forum: Remembering Billy Manes

By : Tom Dyer
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Tom Dyer Watermark gay

Billy Manes wore sweaters on the hottest summer days, often with a scarf and beret. He was quirky in that and so many other ways.

With his gangly body and loose-limbed walk, and that shock of peroxide blonde hair, he was like an elfin Muppet. Strange in a stylish and wonderfully appealing way. Disarmingly honest. Transparently vulnerable. Self-effacing to a fault. But also passionate and courageous when moved by injustice.

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Orlando LGBTQ icon and former Watermark editor, Billy Manes, dies at 45

By : Staff Report
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Billy Manes

Billy Manes

ORLANDO | Billy Manes, iconic Orlando LGBTQ activist, former longtime columnist for Orlando Weekly and former editor-in-chief of Watermark, died July 21 just after 4 p.m. from a sudden onset of pneumonia. He was 45. He is survived by his husband, Anthony Mauss.

Manes was from Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 1997. He began his career in journalism in the sales department at Orlando Weekly and eventually became a staple in the paper, writing the “B-List,” “Blister” and “Happytown” columns. He also attended Orlando city council meetings and recapped them in the column “Council Watch.”

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