Frontiers Awareness & Education Foundation
aims at training new generation of journalists
David Stern, publisher, is seen in his office at Frontiers on Wednesday with some of the many awards won by his publications over more than 30 years. © SGE Inc.
IT MAY not be the newest non-profit in Los Angeles, but the six-month old Frontiers Awareness & Education Foundation is certainly one of a kind.
At a meeting in his fourth-floor office overlooking Wilshire Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon Foundation President David Stern – who also happens to be publisher of the biweekly Frontiers news magazine, – explained his vision for the Foundation.
“Where is the next generation of young journalists [coming from]? We don’t see them getting involved.”
Aspiring young reporters are the future of journalism, Stern added.
“The journalistic grass roots are reporters on the ground, getting the facts. How are we training them?”
STERN and his late business partner, Mark Hudahl, decided to do something about what they saw as a community need.
Just before Hundahl’s demise, in late 2012 the Frontiers Foundation was born.
“Our mission is to empower the NEXT generation of LGBT media professionals and allies, training authentic new voices through evolving sustainable media platforms that will ensure our stories continue to be fully and accurately told,” says the mission statement.
“What is constantly evolving is how the story gets out,” Stern added. “The core [of journalism] does not change.”
We journalists remain fundamentally story-tellers, as it has always been and always will be. The demand for “stories” has never been greater; the appetite of the readers is all but insatiable.
What Stern was noting was the almost light-speed evolution in the means of delivery; you are reading this in digital form, the entire internet universe just a click away.
It’s a long way from the ink-stained wretches in green eyeshades puffing away at endless cigarettes as they slaved over Underwood typewriters in the first newsroom I worked in at The Cape Times in Cape Town in 1974.
President of the Frontiers Foundation, David Stern is seen with one of its promotional signs. © SGE Inc.
JUST A FEW months ago, Stern brought aboard a new talent to take the helm at Frontiers Foundation.
Manager Rafael Cosio said he has more than 20 years experience in running non-profits, including at Aid for Aids, the Los Angeles Youth Network, and Being Alive, a 20-yearold self-empowerment group for those with HIV.
Upon hearing this, I perked up. “Did you know about [the Being Alive dating service] Connect?” I asked.
“Yes, but it folded in the 2000s some time,” he said.
“I founded Connect! On a computer in the bedroom of my West Hollywood home,” I told him.
Instead of me telling the rest of the story, read it yourself in the article written by Josh Meyer for the Los Angeles Times and published on Christmas Eve, 1991. Read it here. What a fabulous Christmas present for all of us.
For the past few months, Cosio has been doing the logistics,
Frontiers Foundation Manager Rafael Cosio works at the round conference table in his office on Wednesday. © SGE Inc.
administrative and planning elements for the rollout of the Frontiers Foundation, which begins today at Santa Monica Community College, where he will be offering internships to five students for the coming summer semester.
“Our interns can get hands-on experience and training here with mentors [from the staff],” Casio explained. “We will take them from concept to content to publication.
“And, we will add graphics and print display [experience].”
The 42-year-old U.C. Santa Barbara graduate (his degree is in sociology, just like my first one) is hoping to be fully prepared when students return to the classrooms in September.
BUT THE Foundation is not just offering internships. It is aiming much higher.
“We want to invite members of the LGBT community in the fields of multimedia to pair with our interns,” Cosio explained.
After all, Frontiers is located in Hollywood, the global center of the media business. And there are literally thousands of LGBT men and women employed in the entertainment/news industries. What a rich resource of talent that could be matched with aspiring young reporters, writers, photographers and future-Walter Kronkites!
“The mentors in the multimedia industry can give them insight and consideration they cannot find elsewhere,” Casio added. “We will focus on the disadvantaged and members of communities of color.”
Noting the difficulties facing all print media as they struggle to monetize their truly valuable content, Stern pointed out that many LGBT oriented print publications had already succumbed.
Indeed, the San Diego based Update, long one of the finest LGBT publications in California, has ceased operations.
The vacuum is having a noticeable effect on non-LGBT media coverage of issues of concern to the community, Stern said.
“Gay-oriented publications are also one of the [means] for keeping the mainstream media honest in their coverage of our issues,” he said.
Support the Frontiers Awareness and Education Foundation by clicking this link.
THE BACK STORY:
I spent a delightful hour-plus first with Rafael and, then, David who joined us after a production meeting. Most of it was the business of this story, but inevitably David and I began reminiscing about times long ago when we – although we didn’t know each other then – shared a special place and a very special time.
Its name was “Probe” and if you dig deep enough into my archives, here and at swil.com, you will find more of the story.
With a couple of hours to find a place to work before the next event on my calendar – the SoCal Social Club, a post coming separately to this blog shortly – I headed directly to the one place I have found in West Hollywood where you can get free Wifi AND a beer!
Mostly, WiFi is found only in coffee shops; few of the pubs in West Hollywood have it. I found one last weekend: the patio at Trunks. Front row seats for all the human secenery strolling along the wide sidewalks of Santa Monica Boulevard.
For about two hours, interrupted by meeting some fascinating folks who might soon be appearing in this space, I dictated my notes into the great new app I got just a couple of weeks ago: Dragon Dictate. Free, at the app store.
Speech recognition technology has truly come of age in the past six months. It is not quite error free, but close enough. One kindly stranger sitting next to me showed me how to dictate email into my iPhone4s. I learn something new every day.
By the time I got home, all my dictation was in my email, which made writing this a snap. It is 11:43 p.m on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, and that’s the way it is.