New York City – On Jan. 25 The Arizona Republic named Randy Lovely to its top editorial position of Vice President News and Editor, the journal Editor & Publisher reported.
The move makes Lovely, who joined the Republic’s staff in 2002 as Managing Editor, the only openly gay editor of a major U.S. newspaper. He follows Leroy “Roy” Aarons, former executive editor of The Oakland Tribune who came out in 1990 and founded the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association shortly after. Aarons died in 2004.
Lovely, 43, has been an NLGJA member since 1999.
In an interview with Editor & Publisher Lovely said he has always been open about his orientation. “There are many others who are much more involved. I support them, but I am not on the leadership,” he said, regarding his NLGJA membership. “I have not had to be anything other than what I am. I can't be the one to tell anyone they have to be out. But it is not something I am afraid of.”
He also said he was not worried about running a newspaper in a traditionally conservative state as an openly gay man. “I think all in all it will not be an issue,” he said. “Arizona is a pretty libertarian environment. People support individual rights.”
Lovely joined the newspaper in 2002 as Managing Editor and became Executive Editor in 2005. In a 2002 interview regarding his new job, he made it clear that his orientation would not affect his work.
“I'm not going to deny coverage to the gay and lesbian community to prove something to the rest of the readership, but I'm also not going to turn The Arizona Republic into the community's gay-and-lesbian newspaper,” he said at the time. “You can't get caught up in that or you start to second-guess yourself too much.”
Other openly gay journalist’s lauded Lovely’s appointment.
"It's great to see it," said Pam Fine, managing editor of The Indianapolis Star. “I hope more companies will be less afraid to pick gay editors.”
Lovely replaces Editor Ward Bushee, who has taken a job at The San Francisco Chronicle.