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Out magazine deputy editor Nico Lang leaves
2019-12-31

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Nico Lang, the deputy editor of Out magazine, has left his position, effective Dec. 31.

This development followed Zach Stafford and Phillip Picardi, the respective editors-in-chief of The Advocate and Out—two LGBTQ brands owned by Pride Media—leaving their posts Dec. 11. Pride Media Interim CEO Orlando Reece also departed.

Lang sent a statement to Windy City Media on Dec. 31:

"It is with a heavy heart that I announce that today was my last day as the deputy editor at Out magazine. I am so sad to be leaving my colleagues at Pride Media, a team I have developed such tremendous respect and admiration for in the five months I led the digital side of Out. I have had the extraordinary opportunity to work alongside some of the best in the business. I'm especially thankful to Phillip Picardi for putting his faith in me, Rose Dommu for always making me laugh, Tre'vell Anderson for making me feel seen, Ian Martella for being my sanity, Mikelle Street for pushing me to be my best self, and Raquel Willis for being a beacon for our entire community. Even if we are no longer co-workers, I leave with new friends, happy hour cocktail buddies and cherished gossip partners.

"I've gotten a lot of questions recently about the future of Out and LGBTQ+ media, and I wish that I had more answers for everyone. But I can say this: In the decade I have worked in this industry, I have witnessed over and over again the incredible desire and hunger for narratives that reflect the lived realities of queer and transgender people, particularly stories that are told through an intersectional lens. Since I started at Out in August, traffic more than doubled, and we logged our best numbers in years. We interviewed presidential candidates, published op-eds from nearly every single 2020 campaign, profiled A-list movie stars, held businesses and charity organizations accountable for anti-LGBTQ+ practices, honored transgender women who lost their lives to violence, affected major policy decisions, and consistently outperformed even the most optimistic of expectations. All of this was largely due to the tireless effort of a team that excelled while being consistently understaffed and overworked. Friends, colleagues, and community members often came up to me—even at my own wedding in October—and told me how much our coverage meant to them, that it felt like they had a publication that represented them.

"I would have liked to continue that work at Out, but I feel I cannot give my community the coverage it needs unless I know I have the resources to produce it. I wanted basic transparency, accountability and respect from our owners as the publication weathers a uniquely difficult time in its history, and that was not offered. Thus, I resigned from my position.

"I have been at a crossroads with journalism in recent weeks. Last month, I was sure I was ready to leave the industry altogether. This job is unbelievably hard and often thankless; it takes so much from you and some days it gives little in return. I'd been battling health issues and felt like I had nothing left. But after much reflection, I realized that queer media will not have a future if we continue to perpetuate the narrative it cannot survive by remaining silent as those in power starve us. The problem has never been LGBTQ+ journalists and content creators; the problem has always been cisgender, straight men who do not have our best interests at heart, [and] who profit off us until they can no longer exploit us to their satisfaction. It does not escape notice that this is the second time in less than a year that I've been part of a team that raised the bar for queer excellence in media, just to end up unemployed.

"I believe that LGBTQ+ people need new platforms and new ways to tell our stories. Over the next few months, I'm going to be having conversations about what that looks like with others who believe our stories matter, that they are important, and that the world is better when they are told. I do not know what that looks like yet. Therefore, if you are someone who has ideas, connections, resources or the ability to help create new opportunities for representation, please reach out to me. I have 10 years of experience in proving that I've got what it takes. I've been an editor-in-chief, an award-winning reporter, an ( also ) award-winning op-ed editor, a contributor to one of the world's most widely read opinion pages, an entertainment beat writer, a publication's entire politics section, and even a generator of crappy listicles your grandmother gets spammed with in her inbox. I have interviewed world leaders, governors and mayors and feuded with Hollywood megaproducers. I'm sure the Mormon Church has a dartboard somewhere with my face on it. I have done everything but get down on my hands and knees and personally scrub Laverne Cox's floor because I believe in this community so much—and honestly, if she called, I would probably do it.

"When I took the job at Out, I promised to fight for beauty, for truth, and visibility for all those who feel erased and forgotten. I'm going to keep fighting, and I hope all of you will join me in that fight."


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