Career Coach: Journalist
What led you to explore a career in journalism and LGBTQ media?
Initially, I wanted my picture in the paper. I wanted to see my name in print.
How did you land your first job in LGBTQ media?
The editor of a West Hollywood newspaper didn’t think I was pretty enough for the cover of his publication, so I decided to write something instead. I wrote a piece about drug use in the gay community, and he loved it. That piece landed me on the cover – as a writer, not as a model.
It led me to some pretty crappy writing gigs, like doing community theatre reviews and so forth, until I eventually landed a gay WeHo lifestyle column, which became a staple for the paper and ran for about seven years, until the newspaper folded. I was a columnist back when columnists were cool.
Was the reality of working in LGBTQ media like what you had expected?
I don’t know what I expected. There’s a lot to cover in LGBTQ media. There’s room for a variety of voices under our rainbow umbrella. With that said, I guess I didn’t expect how some of my gay heroes in LGBTQ media became my haters after I acquired my own online news magazine. It’s been interesting. People I admire, whose footsteps I strived to follow, actually unfollowed me on social media.
Don’t get me wrong, there has been a ton of support from the most unlikely sources, but I didn’t expect some of the silence. That silence is deafening, but it’s like fuel to the flame. When your gay heroes become your haters, trust and believe you’re doing something right.
What are some of the skills or attributes that you need to build a successful career in LGBTQ media?
I’m forever a work in progress. Everyone has their own measure of success, but if I had any advice to give, I’d say make sure you love what you do and then do it. Be persistent and consistent. I’ve written a ton of crap. I’ve gotten some awful criticisms, and I’ve experienced the worst a writer can experience, which is indifference. But, I’m still here, and I’m still doing it. Why? I love what I do.
If someone was interested in pursuing a career in LGBTQ media, what advice or guidance would you give them?
Persistence is key. You’ll never build a career in LGBTQ media if you give up. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people can’t hurt. That first column gig I mentioned earlier—my best friend worked for that publication. He introduced me to the editor. You’re more likely to be at the right place and at the right time when you’re surrounded by the right people. That’s true for any industry.
Find your own voice and nurture it. Your experiences, your dream state, and your history is what makes you everything that is you. They can’t teach you your voice in school. Also, placing yourself in the thick of that protest, pushing your way to the front of that press conference, and not being afraid to talk to people – none of that hurts anyone pursuing a career in LGBTQ media.
Let me also add that you need to master the ability to learn from your mistakes. Admit you messed up and try again.
What are some of your goals and aspirations for the months ahead?
My goal is to continue documenting LGBTQ history and building my brand WeHo Times – your LGBTQ online source for news, people, culture, lifestyle, nightlife, and everything that makes the city of West Hollywood the exciting gay mecca of Southern California.