A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

Diversity In-Brief

By Quill

Gannett to offer benefits to same-sex partners

Beginning in January, Gannett Co., the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, will offer full medical benefits to same-sex partners who live together. In its Aug. 28 announcement, the company reported that it also would offer benefits to unmarried domestic partners of the opposite sex. To be eligible, partners must have been involved in a 12-month relationship. They also must sign an affidavit that declares there is financial dependence between them. A study by the nation’s largest gay and lesbian organization indicates that the number of U.S. employers offering or planning to offer health insurance benefits to same-sex partners increased by 20 percent in the last year to 4,284. That number has almost doubled in two years, from 2,846 in August 1999. Between August 2000 and August 2001, at least 712 employers added the benefits, according to the “State of the Workplace’’ study by the Human Rights Campaign in Washington. “We believe employers are bringing their policies into line with the changing makeup of the American family,’’ Kim I. Mills, editor of the report, told The Associated Press. In the past three years, the number of Fortune 500 companies offering domestic partner benefits has more than doubled, from 61 in 1998 to 145 in 2001.

Orlando Sentinel reaches into hispanic community

Broadening its reach in the Spanish-speaking community, Orlando Sentinel Communications announced Aug. 28 that it will share editorial content with 98.1 FM (WNUE), a Spanish-language popular music radio station with a signal that blankets Central Florida. The agreement follows two other content-sharing deals between the Sentinel and Spanish-language media. The paper, which began publishing El Sentinel, a weekly bilingual edition, on Aug. 11, will also share news and promotional efforts with local affiliates of the Univision and Telemundo television networks. The Sentinel is a Tribune Co. subsidiary and distributes 46,000 copies of El Sentinel to selected households free of charge. Another 16,000 copies are available at 500 locations, including businesses, apartment complexes and restaurants. The paper announced its first content-sharing deal with WVEN-Channel 26, the Univision affiliate, on Aug. 1.

Univision to launch new network for Hispanics

When a group of television stations switches from broadcasting in English to Spanish, no one in the television industry knows what will happen for sure. Univision Communications Inc., owner of the country’s largest Spanish-language television network, will find out early next year when it launches a new network for Hispanics called Telefutura. Univision will use English-language stations it has purchased from USA Networks Inc. for $1.1 billion. The new network, appealing to the country’s fast-growing population of more than 35 million Hispanics, is scheduled to operate on 13 or more TV stations in major markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami. “It’s hard to say how advertisers will react,” said Fausto Sanchez, president of Sanchez & Levitan, an advertising and marketing communications agency in Miami. According to Miami-based Strategy Research Corp., buying power in the U.S. Hispanic market is currently estimated at about $400 billion per year, while Hispanic advertising stands at about $2 billion. “It will be a difficult sell at first, but Univision has the programming and marketing strength backing them up,” Sanchez told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

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