Ripped to shreads: Renzi gets Crain’d

I’ve always had a good bit of respect for Chris Crain, former Washington Blade/SoVo editor and partner in Window Media. Of course that isn’t saying I’ve always agreed with him, but I have had admiration for the part he played in creating a power-house of a media company.

Back in May, Crain had some criticism of QNotes. To my knowledge, Crain has never personally criticized me and nothing he said in May even compares to how he’s pretty much ripped apart another editor of a gay publication.

Dan Renzi, former MTV “Real World: Miami” star, was hired in May as the new editor of South Florida’s Express Gay News.

“Renzi’s journalism credentials — a few freelance articles and a stint at Queerty — are certainly unusual,” Crain writes.

Renzi also served as editor of the student paper at Rutgers University. And, there have been more than “a few” of those freelance pieces. (A little understatement for effect, Chris?)

I’m really not one to point fingers on the basis of “credentials.” I didn’t have any real experience working in journalism before I was hired at QNotes. Although I had years of blogging experience and interactions working with the media, I’d never been employed by any publication. The first six months of my time at QNotes was a crash course that, surprisingly, contained very few crashes.

What I did have to bring the table — and I imagine Renzi has something to bring as well — was my years worth of activism and community work, my knowledge of the Carolinas community, my experience with blogging, the internet, social networking, etc., and dedication and commitment to learning, writing, speaking and exposing the truth.

Crain continues (emphasis mine):

Alas, the early returns aren’t encouraging. This week’s “editorial” is about how he took the day off from his Express duties to work as a stringer for Us Weekly, trying to gather dirt on baseball phenom Alex Rodriguez, rumored to be having an affair with Madonna. Is this was “E-List” celebs do in their spare time? Dig dirt on those with higher listings?

Dan’s gift of gab is well-suited for his blog “How was your day, Dan?” or even for 411, the lifestyle mag produced out of the same Fort Lauderdale offices as the Express. But readers of South Florida’s only serious gay publication deserve better than an editor who has decided to treat his editorial column “like it’s a big blog post from now on. Screw the politics and the news is unnecessary.”

I agree with Crain — Renzi’s decision on the editorial is pretty bad. I know that I look forward to my editorial column every two weeks. It’s my one chance in the entire print edition of the paper to have an insightful, serious opinion on the news or recent events. Every so often, I might even get to speak on behalf of the paper. Both are responsibilities that I don’t take lightly. Renzi apparently doesn’t have the same philosophy.

What I really find funny, though, is that what Renzi is most famous for is something I’m really not old enough to remember. When he debuted on MTV in the summer of 1996, I was just a 10-year-old kid wasting away the summer between fourth and fifth grade.

Age ain’t a thing, but, certainly, your outlook on what your job means and just how devoted you are to it do mean something. I’m going to give Renzi a chance and reserve my judgment of his abilities. I know I needed some time to adjust and I’m sure he does, too. I might not have had “the credentials,” but I still brought good things with me; I’m sure Renzi’s the same.

We’ll have to come back and examine this six months from now.

2 Responses to “Ripped to shreads: Renzi gets Crain’d”
  1. KipEsquire says:

    Everyone is entitled to his own subjective opinion, and Crain is free not to waste his time on a writer whom he does not respect.

    But here’s a radical idea: Leave private entities alone to make private decisions. If they thrive, then good for them. If they founder, then so be it. And if someone can do a better job than Renzi — they will. Demand creates its own supply.

    But the idea that anyone needs Chris Crain’s (or Andrew Sullivan’s or Andy Towle’s or …) seal of approval as to the “correct” way to run a newspaper is the height of hubris. The only approval that counts is the market’s.

  2. a. mcewen says:

    I don’t know about Crain ever since I’ve had problems with him hiring Jeff Gannon (i.e. Talon News’s phony White House journalist) for Southern Voice. It’s not the fact that he was hired more than I felt that Crain owed his readers an explanation for hiring Gannon.

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