Before our publisher, Tom Dyer, asked me to take on this role, I was the Tampa Bay Bureau Chief and before that I was a staff writer. Go back further and I was a freelancer who hoped to write until I could land another full time job in journalism.
Life has been very kind to me and I’m thankful for the opportunity to present this column, write for this paper and to work with such a great staff.
But it hasn’t all been sunshine and lollipops—whatever that means. There was definitely a learning curve involved with this first year and I’m proud to say I’m not one to shy away from expanding my education. Those challenges and my expanded role in the LGBT community have helped make me a better editor and, in turn, continue to improve the quality of this paper.
So, to celebrate my one-year anniversary as editor of Watermark, I offer a glimpse into a few things I’ve learned over the past 12 months and 26 issues:
There is a lot more to the bear community than hairy chests and beards. These guys have an awful lot to say. Check out some of our stories online concerning Bear Bust, the Bears of Central Florida and BC3 and you’ll see what I mean.
If a major disagreement among management at your favorite bar changes the atmosphere, don’t worry. A new bar with a similar theme and a familiar face or two will open up nearby.
Even without checking with my sources, I’m 99% sure that Kathy Griffin will return to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater again in 2011. I think she has a special room in the basement.
The Parliament House will remain an Orlando staple regardless of the countless rumors surrounding it. It’s an institution and will hopefully remain a part of our landscape for decades to come.
Anonymous e-mails “alerting” us to the downfall of a local celebrity, politician, establishment or club will come in at least once per issue. Approximately one-in-10 has a token of legitimacy—and that’s being generous.
There are a lot more gay Republicans out there than I thought and they are not afraid to share their opinions!
Milano’s in Fashion Square Mall is different than the Milano’s on E. Colonial.
It takes awhile for change to get noticed. The alphabet soup describing our community goes by many forms. Here at Watermark our style guide presents it as the “LGBT” community and we’ve presented it as such for more than a year. But readers will still notice the “new” change and voice concern over why the lesbians get top billing over the gay guys. It’s not a contest, people.
Traffic on Colonial Drive in Orlando is terrible no matter what time of day you drive it. Find alternate routes to your destination if you’re visiting that particular area of downtown.
The drive from St. Petersburg to Tampa is not a day-long trip as many would have you believe, unless there’s a wreck on I-275 near Kennedy. Then, forget it; your day is shot.
Sarasota will always have a gay bar—it just moves around and changes its name and ownership a whole lot.
St. Pete Pride is hot. It was hot its first year and it was hot in its eighth year. Unless the Earth’s axis tilts, don’t expect that to change in its ninth year.
Technology is changing the way people get news. WatermarkOnline is a living and breathing journalistic format. We should all check it out daily.
Gay Days will be bigger each year—no matter who throws what party where.
While Ybor City is actually a historic neighborhood of Tampa and not its own township, we should not refer to establishments there as “Tampa-based.” It’s either in Ybor City or in GaYbor—not Tampa.
Not all lesbians are mothers and not all gay men are childless.
Referring to someone as the “gay candidate” or “gay politician” can be annoying to said individual. “The candidate who happens to be gay” is much preferred.
Thanks for a memorable and successful year one. Here’s looking forward to year two!