June 14, 2016

While news organizations in Orlando and beyond have kept busy covering the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the city’s LGBT news magazine has offered support and guidance directly to that community.

After getting a story up Sunday morning about the emerging news of what happened at Pulse Nightclub, Jamie Hyman, director of digital media at Watermark, quickly started creating resources for readers: how to give blood, where to donate money, lists of vigils, information about traffic closures and coverage of how the community has pulled together.

“Anything people might need to know in this really tough time,” Hyman said.

Watermark, which was founded in 1994, publishes every other Thursday in Orlando and around Tampa Bay. It has a staff of 13, with three in editorial. The publication covers the news both online and in print and distributes at more than 500 locations throughout Florida.

This Thursday, Watermark will publish a multi-page package about the mass shooting at Pulse, which killed 49 people. Watermark Publishing also issued a statement of support and solidarity on Monday. It begins:

Watermark isn’t just Central Florida’s LGBT news source; we are members of the local LGBT community. We live here, we work here, we love here. And now, we grieve here…

Right now, we are focused on how to help, and how to get help. As Watermark, we will provide timely, accurate information on resources and support, both how to give them and how to get them. As members of the community, we will hold each other and cry for our friends. We will grieve this loss and we will hurt for the victims and those who loved them.

Then, we will tell the stories of strength and resilience that are already arising from this unfathomable tragedy. The survivors. The responders. The community who is working together to hold itself up, to prove that senseless violence will not destroy us. At this moment, we do not know the precise reason why the suspect chose Pulse as the target for his violence and hate, but the fact remains: he targeted gay people. Therefore, it is more important than ever that the Orlando LGBT community join together and bolster each other, as a message to those who hate us: You cannot silence us. You cannot destroy us. We aren’t going anywhere.

“We don’t just cover the community,” Hyman said. “We are the community. And this is incredibly difficult but incredibly important that we tell this story from inside the community.”

Watermark was available at Pulse, Hyman said. And when it rebuilds, the magazine will be distributed there again.

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