By Amy Young, November 2018 issue. Meet the rest of the Class of 2018 here.
Former managing editor Liz Massey has had a direct impact on the evolution of Echo – in that role and as a continuous contributor. Currently a Virginia resident, Massey is fond of the many years she spent in Arizona.
“I moved to Phoenix in 1997. The Kansas City area is where I grew up,” she told us. “I noticed Echo immediately, as it was a very nicely put together LGBT magazine.”
Massey majored in journalism at the University of Kansas and had been actively writing. It was a natural inclination to want to lend her skills to Echo. “It’s ironic because my degree was in magazine journalism,” she said, “but most of the work I had been doing wasn’t. I’d done public relations for a library, industrial videos, and a number of other things.”
In 2000, she saw an ad in the classified section of Echo. “Back in those days – I don’t know about now – people would read the magazine from back to front. They’d look at the bar photos, read the classifieds, and then read the stories. And what was so great about the ads is that they were gay-friendly and that was important. You didn’t have to worry about encountering a landlord who didn’t want to rent to a gay tenant – it was a great resource.”
So, she spotted the help wanted ad. “The magazine was looking for an assistant editor and a managing editor. I tend to be a modest person and thought I should just apply for the assistant position. My friends, however, strongly encouraged me to go for the other, so I did.”
Bruce Christian was the editor at that time, and Massey said that he was supportive of her taking on the role. “I was managing editor from 2000 to 2003 and my now ex-partner and I decided to move back to Kansas City. After about a year, we chose to go back to Phoenix.”
Buddy Early was the editor at that point, so she couldn’t resume that role. “I started freelancing and then after a couple of years, I took on the proofreading duties. I did that for 11 years, and I believe there were four different editors throughout that time.”
Massey said that she liked being able to write about the issues faced by the LGBTQ community, recalling times like in 2000 when Vermont allowed same-sex couples to engage in civil unions, prior to the Marriage Equality Act implemented there in 2009.
“It was important to me to try and broaden Echo’s definition of things. The health section was one of those areas. We were always focused on HIV coverage, of course, and I implemented articles about women’s health.”
“I like watching the magazine grow with the times,” Massey said. “For instance, the commitment to coverage of trans issues, especially over the last five years.”
Does she have a favorite piece? “There were so many,” she said, “it’s hard to nail down just one. I did really enjoy Issue 600 – I even remember the number – it was a wedding issue. I wrote a comprehensive how-to piece, which was really fun to write in an LGBTQ context.”
Congratulations to the Class of 2018! Meet the rest of the inductees here.