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Pink Triangle Press names David Walberg as executive director

Walberg succeeds Ken Popert to become second ED in the company’s history

David Walberg has been with Pink Triangle Press for more than 25 years and is currently the company’s chief digital executive. Credit: Courtesy Jamo Best

David Walberg has been named the next executive director of Pink Triangle Press (PTP).

Walberg, who is currently the company’s chief digital executive, will take over the ED position on April 3, 2017.

“David Walberg will lead Pink Triangle Press with tremendous energy and skill,” says Gillian Rodgerson, a member of PTP’s board of directors. “His accomplishments as an activist and as a publisher, and his imaginative approach to our work, made him the right choice.”

During his more than 25-year-career with PTP, Walberg has led major initiatives on both the journalism and business sides of the organization.

A former editor-in-chief and publisher of Xtra in Toronto, Walberg helped bring Xtra online and introduced in-house video production at PTP. He was also a co-creator of Squirt.org, an online dating and hookup service for gay men, that has become the primary revenue source for PTP.

In recent years, Walberg has led the latest round of strategic planning for PTP that has brought financial stability to the Press, making it one of the few digital journalism enterprises in Canada that is sustainable and financially independent to strive for sexual freedom and champion LGBT rights.

Walberg will take the reins at a time of renewed growth at PTP. Squirt.org continues its international expansion, while Xtra expands its audience engagement, having shifted to an entirely digital journalism operation after print editions in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa ceased publication in 2015.

Walberg will be the second executive director in PTP’s history. He is taking over from Ken Popert, who has led the organization since 1986.

Popert, who began writing for Xtra’s predecessor The Body Politic in 1973, has helped see PTP through a number of financial and legal challenges. He was one of three journalists charged with publishing obscene materials in 1977 after the publication of “Men Loving Boys Loving Men.” All three were cleared after lengthy court fights.

When Popert announced his retirement in May 2016, he expressed hope that PTP would continue to fight for sexual liberation.

“There has to be somebody who speaks with a logical and clear voice about sexual issues,” Popert says. “So there’s still a very big piece of work there that somebody’s got to do. And it can’t be just us alone, but I would hope that the Press would continue to be a voice for a logical discussion of sexuality.”

“I’m honoured by the opportunity to lead one of the world’s great LGBT media enterprises,” says Walberg of his appointment. “Our journalism advocates sexual freedom and freedom of expression. This focus is core to our mission and it is one of the things which distinguishes us from other LGBT media. As our audiences grow across various platforms, I’m excited to find that our communities are eager to explore and debate these issues.”

Editor’s note, Feb 23, 2017: This article was updated to add a comment from David Walberg.

This story is filed under News & Ideas, Media, Canada