AJR  The Beat
From AJR,   October 1993

Straight Talk from a New Editor   

By Unknown

As a heterosexual, Jerilyn Buckleyis in an unusual position. She runs a gay newspaper. This past summer, Buckley became publisher and editor of the Alternative Connection, a monthly with a circulation of 14,000 distributed in the Portland, Oregon, metro area. Since she helped found the publication in 1991, Buckley has served as general manager. She took on her extra duties after one of the paper's publishers, Elwood Johnson, was stricken with AIDS. Johnson's partner, co-publisher Ray Southwick, left to take care of him, leaving Buckley to manage alone.

Eddie VanBrocklin, a part time production assistant at the paper, says Buckley, who oversees a staff of part-timers, freelancers and volunteers, has brought a fresh perspective. "She gives us insights on how the straight community feels," he says. "A lot of people look at the paper more closely because there's a broader range of opinions."

"This is a happy little marriage," he adds. "She lives one life and we live another, but we can still live together."

Buckley, 47, says she sometimes meets gays who don't like the idea of a straight woman running the paper. A local group of gay journalists who get together regularly to discuss how to fight homophobia told her she wasn't welcome at their meetings. "I wasn't too surprised," she says.

Since its beginning, she and the staff have tried to present Alternative Connections "in such a way that anyone would pick it up and read, whether they are gay or straight... My attitude is that people are people." She says she is seeking investors to help turn the monthly into a larger and more frequent regional publication. "Running this paper isn't going to be a temporary thing," she says.

Buckley appreciates the irony of her situation but says that "regardless of your situation in life, you'll probably see irony if you have any sense of humor."