LGBTQ+ media company Gay Star News has shuttered with the news organisation entering insolvency.
Around 20 jobs have been axed and staff were told the news two days before payday, according to BBC News LGBT correspondent Ben Hunte.
The title's news editor, Joe Morgan, said he was “devastated” by the closure and urged outlets to hire the staff to bolster their LGBTQ+ coverage. PinkNews and Attitude are among the publications that have indicated they are open to hiring some staff, as is creative comms shop Talker Tailor Trouble Maker.
Speaking to The Drum, Morgan confirmed that the the company was unable to pay its debts or staff this month. He reflected that it "is incredibly hard to make money as a LGBTI media organisation. When big companies feel like they can get away with just a rainbow logo on social media during June, independent companies who are fighting for change suffer."
Morgan said he was "privileged to write news and mentor LGBTI journalists who believe and fight for equality. All of them are stars in their own right" and expressed pride at its campaign for LGBTI people in Chechnya, the work on LGBTI asylum, and its reporting on bi, trans and intersex issues.
He concluded: "I hope we informed and entertained with every story. From the beginning, that’s all we wanted to do. Please support LGBTI media - it’s so important."
A crowdfunding page has been created to raise money for the team that “poured their hearts and souls into raising awareness for every member of the LGBTI community". The publication was founded in 2011 and was averaging more than 1.5m views a month according to data from SimilarWeb.
Ad exec and LGBTQ+ campaigner Jerry Daykin urged advertisers to consider how they support media like Gay Star News.
We’ll continue to see minority voices squeezed out of media if advertisers don’t actively think about how they spend with them - Brand Safety measures often actively exclude LGBT audiences with blocked key words etc. We need to be conscious that where we spend money matters https://t.co/J1GSxkRDrj— Jerry Daykin (@jdaykin) July 30, 2019
Earlier this month The Drum spoke to PinkNews, which opened up on the inroads it has made on Snapchat, now its primary platform. As a result of being on Snapchat, it has tripled its income in a year, illustrating the potential for publishers to diversify away from web traffic and grow new audiences.
Gay Star News founders Tris Reid-Smith and Scott Nunn wrote a blog on the site's closure here. It said: "Brands which are wishing to ‘do’ LGBTI work are increasingly doing so in a tokenistic way. Rather than working with us to engage and serve LGBTI people year round, many have chosen to ‘rainbow wash’"