Troy Masters, a galvanizing force in New York City’s LGBT media world for more than quarter of a century, is leaving Gay City News, a publication he founded and where he serves as associate publisher, to launch a biweekly gay publication in Los Angeles.
Masters, whose departure is effective August 21, will join Mirror Media Group, the publisher of the Santa Monica Mirror and five other community publications focused on West LA neighborhoods. There he will steer the launch of The Pride L.A., a biweekly newspaper that will serve LGBT-identified communities including West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Downtown LA, and the campuses of major area universities. The newspaper will begin biweekly distribution with a print run of 20,000 in October and will also be available online at thepridela.com.
Los Angeles is new turf for the 54-year-old Masters, who was raised in Nashville, graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and has worked in New York-based LGBT publications dating back to 1989, when he joined Outweek as a sales representative. When that brash voice of the ACT UP/ Queer Nation zeitgeist went out of business in 1991, Masters launched QW magazine, which published for 18 months until the death of his principal funder, Bill Chafin.
Less than two years later, Masters was back in the game with the launch of Lesbian and Gay New York, or LGNY, a publication I first contributed to in late 1995 and where I became editor-in-chief in 1997. LGNY was relaunched as Gay City News in 2002, under the ownership of John Sutter, who also published the Villager, the Downtown Express, and later Chelsea Now and East Villager News. Jennifer and Les Goodstein bought that group of newspapers in 2012 and last year folded them into Community News Group (CNG), which has 11 other publications in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. CNG is the city’s largest publisher of community newspapers.
“Not every publisher has quite as much luck as I have had over 30 years,” Masters said. “The progress for my media operations and the trajectory of gay rights have both been a sharp upward curve. I am thrilled to have this opportunity in Los Angeles.”
Even as Masters recently changed his Facebook image to a graphic reading “Time to Reinvent Yourself,” however, he also voiced the tough choice he felt in leaving behind a venture now more than 20 years old.
“As excited as I am about my new venture, Paul and I have enjoyed a privileged working relationship over the years and I will miss the productivity and brainpower that is evident in the pages of Gay City News,” he said. “We will continue to rely on one another. Gay City News represents my life’s work.”
Having worked with Troy for just about the entire life of this publication, I know that he will be missed in New York, at Gay City News, and, in particular, by me for his grit and guts and his commitment to keep the LGBT press’ mission fresh and sharp. Los Angeles’ gain is New York’s loss, but I have no doubt that Troy and I will continue to share our common commitment to serving the community, here, there, and across the nation and the globe.”
Jennifer Goodstein, CNG’s president, praised Masters and predicted Los Angeles will soon be paying attention.
“We consider it an honor to have worked with Troy and to have assumed stewardship of Gay City News,” she said. “LGBT civil rights have swept the nation in the past few years thanks to the decades of commitment and hard work by publishing leaders like Troy. He has left his mark in the New York LGBT community in so many positive ways. I am certain Troy is up to the challenge of starting a newspaper in Los Angeles and will make his mark there as well.”
One important factor in the success of any LGBT publication is the support it enjoys from Rivendell Media, a New Jersey-based company that is the national advertising representative for virtually the entire gay market niche. Todd Evans, Rivendell’s president, is committed to Masters’ new enterprise and praised their collaboration to date.
“I have worked closely with Troy for over 25 years and we are thrilled that he has decided to open an LGBT newspaper in Los Angeles,” he said. “Our clients universally see Los Angeles as a market they must reach.”
Early word of Masters’ departure from New York sparked tributes as well from elected officials with strong ties to the gay community.
“Through Gay City News, known earlier as Lesbian and Gay New York, Troy Masters has helped shape the fortunes of the of the LGBT community by providing an invaluable news and cultural outlet,” said West Side Democratic Congressmember Jerrold Nadler. ”Whether in New York or Los Angeles, Troy’s papers will continue to be the voice of the local LGBT community.”
Brad Hoylman, also a West Side Democrat and the only out LGBT member of the State Senate, said, “As Troy Masters departs for Los Angeles, he leaves behind a tremendous legacy in New York City’s LGBT community. Gay City News, the paper that Troy founded in the early 1990s, has shaped the way that LGBT New Yorkers process pivotal moments for our community and has preserved an important record of LGBT history. New York will miss Troy, but Los Angeles will be well served by a maiden LGBT newspaper under his stewardship.”
City Councilmember Corey Johnson, an out gay Democrat who represents Greenwich Village, Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen, said, “With Gay City News, the paper he founded, Troy Masters truly raised the bar for journalists everywhere, providing fantastic coverage of our community’s victories, setbacks, and everything in between. He will be greatly missed, but we wish him well and congratulate Los Angeles on gaining a first-class journalist. I join many others in thanking Troy for his immense contributions to the City of New York.”
Longtime activist Allen Roskoff, who is president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, said, "Troy Masters has been a major force in providing coverage of politics and issues of interest to the LGBT community. Troy has been a respected force and voice in New York politics. His coverage of AIDS and politics has had a vital and positive impact that both educated and sensitized the community. Troy is also has a wonderful personality and a great sense of humor. He will be greatly missed by LGBT New Yorkers."