The Publisher of Prizm, the only remaining LGBTQ+ media outlet in Ohio, has announced that the publication will cease all print and digital operations due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Its February edition was its last to be printed.
In a letter to readers, Carol Zimmer Clark said that the COVID-19 outbreak has caused financial duress.
It's the same reality faced by other media organizations across the country, particularly alternative weeklies.
"Our advertising revenue has quickly evaporated as events have been canceled and organizations understandably need to redirect their funds to keep their efforts afloat," Clark wrote, noting that distributing the magazine was now also a challenge in a state whose residents have been ordered to shelter in place.
Prizm was launched in mid-2017, with its first print edition published in October of that year.
"I am very proud of the work we have done to inform, educate and entertain LGBTQ+ Ohioans and our allies about our lives, our hopes, our struggles and our triumphs over the last three years," Clark wrote. "(Prizm) has been the only remaining LGBTQ+ publication in Ohio, giving voice to our community at a time when our civil rights are being eroded with calculation."
Ken Schneck, who has served as Prizm's editor since April of 2019, told the Cleveland Scene that the publication's demise stung more in Ohio than it might have in other places where he has previously lived — New York and Vermont.
"Ohio is still lacking statewide, LGBTQ+, nondiscrimination protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations," Schneck wrote. "There are bills on the table in the Columbus state house right this very second that actively discriminate against our transgender siblings. There is an Ohio State Representative who actually thinks that gay people cause mass shootings."
In part because of this urgency, and the delusions and lies of Ohio legislators, Schneck is convinced that after the pandemic, another LGBTQ+ publication will rise. But until then, he said it will be up to other media outlets to fight for the equality that still remains elusive in Ohio.
"There are some great publications out there that highlight our struggles and triumphs, but with Prizm, we knew there was a source to which we could reliably turn to see our lives and issues represented," he wrote.
"Additionally, Prizm had a real commitment to amplifying the voices of LGBTQ+ people of color; to expect that those voices will continue to be covered in other media would not be an expectation based in reality."
Carol Zimmer Clark wrote that, though it won't be printed, the publication's April/May issue will be posted to the website and sent electronically to subscribers. Schneck posted a farewell on the site.