IPR is featuring some of the many LGBTQ+ pioneers who impacted the field of public relations in celebration of Pride Month. 

Randy Shilts was born in Davenport, Iowa, on August 8, 1951. While attending the University of Oregon, Shilts managed the student newspaper and served as president of the Eugene Gay People’s Alliance. 

In 1974, Shilts received his first William Randolph Hearst Award for a story about Portland’s drag queens. After graduating college, Shilts worked briefly for The Advocate as its Northwest correspondent, before moving to San Francisco, where for the next three years he was an Advocate staff writer.

In 1977, Shilts began reporting for San Francisco’s KQED station and reported on city politics and gay issues for Oakland’s KTVU channel. He became a reporter for The Chronicle in 1982 and was promoted to national correspondent six years later. Shilts was the first openly gay news reporter in the country to be hired as an out journalist.

Shilts was one of the first journalists to report on HIV/AIDS which helped prompt significant changes in public health policies. In 1987, Shilts published his book And the Band Played On, a history of the early AIDS epidemic in the U.S which became a bestseller. He died in 1994.


Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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