Domestic Partner Benefits at AAN Papers Examined

Orlando Weekly Editor Presents Survey Results at NLGJA Convention.

Earlier this month, Orlando Weekly Editor Jeff Truesdell stepped up to the mic at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association [NLGJA] convention in Las Vegas to report on the midterm results of his poll on the availability of domestic partner benefits among AAN papers.

Truesdell told the group that 27 of the 53 survey respondents offer health and medical benefits to the domestic partners of their employees. He also reported that 1998 has seen a swell in the number of alternative newsweeklies extending such benefits: 17 of the 27 affirmative responses came from papers that began or will start the practice this calendar year.

The latest arrival, Truesdell further noted, is New Times, Inc., which will begin offering benefits to its workers’ domestic partners on Nov. 1.

“A year ago, I was enlisted by the NLGJA to do a snapshot within alternative newspapers as to the availability of domestic partner benefits,” says Truesdell. “And I agreed to take on the task — foolishly. No one in their right mind would agree to such a project.”

Truesdell ultimately plans to poll all 113 AAN papers and hopes to present the final results at the 1999 Memphis convention. So far, he’s found that this is an issue where alternatives run close to the mainstream.

“AAN papers are typical in terms of percentages,” he says. “I don’t know if we’re behind or ahead. About a third of AAN papers do offer these benefits to the domestic partners of employees. Right now, we’re on the border as the 17 papers which started doing this just this past year shows. But I think in another two years this will be commonplace.”

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