Wow. Everyone seems to be having a field day with this topic of print media vs. online media. Last week, the gay media world and blogosphere discussed the issue in-depth. That conversation continued into this week. On Monday, Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff responded to Michael Lavers’ original Village Voice piece, which caused all the uproar beginning last Tuesday. On Tuesday, Adam Bink was able to round up opinions from new media folks like John Aravosis, Bil Browning and others (including me). And, on Tuesday as well, ColorLines‘ Kai Wright brought together three queer bloggers of color to discuss the future of LGBT media, Obama’s politics and the future of the community in general.
Last week’s debate over the current state and future of LGBT print media carries into this week, it seems.
Last Tuesday, gay journalist Michael Lavers wrote a piece, “Gay Print Media on the Wane,” for the Village Voice. I responded to that piece with my own thoughts last week, as did other journalists and bloggers. On Friday, I wrapped up a good portion of the week’s discussion at Bilerico.com.
Today, Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff publishes his own response, calling Lavers’ piece an “unfair attack” and claiming Lavers failed to include accurate information, fact check his work or include interviews with the subjects of his article.
The recent Village Voice story, “Gay print media on the wane,” by Michael Lavers is riddled with factual errors and suffers from conflicts of interest and general amateurishness. Lavers and his editors clearly set out to write a self-serving story about the supposed demise of LGBT news outlets. And they didn’t let pesky facts get in the way of their hypothesis.
Lavers interviewed me for the story and it became clear from the outset that he had already decided what to write — he just needed a few supportive quotes to fill out the piece. Hence, nothing I said to him made it into the final story. He spends significant time writing about the Blade, Window Media and the Advocate, but no one from those entities is quoted or allowed to respond to Lavers’ irresponsible and baseless claims. Instead of talking to professionals working in LGBT media, Lavers quotes an anthropology professor whose qualifications and experience in niche media are never revealed.
Of Lavers’ conflict of interest — which is never disclosed in the story — Naff writes:
What’s more disturbing than the lack of basic fact checking (what an old-school concept!) is that Lavers fails to disclose his work for Edge Media Network, a company he describes as “fast becoming the new gay press establishment,” a grandiose claim he offers no evidence to support. He also conveniently omits the fact that one of Edge’s senior executives, William Kapfer, was an officer of Window Media, the Blade’s former parent company that is criticized in the story. It sounds like Kapfer, an Edge marketer, wrote the story for Lavers.
Over the next few days, I hope you take the time to pause and remember Stonewall. After years and years of abuse, small but barely noticeable progress and limited visibility, the Stonewall Riots of June 28, 1969 helped to birth our modern movement for equality. Truly, Stonewall is to the LGBT community, what Independence Day is to our nation as a whole.
In the year following Stonewall, LGBT organizations sprung up in New York City and other major cities. The first Pride parade — the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade — was held a year later on June 20, 1970. The energy of Stonewall made its way to North Carolina just one year later, when Bob Bland founded the Triangle Gay Alliance in Raleigh.
If there is just one time every year that is of the utmost importance and symbolism for the LGBT community, it has to be June, when we commemorate the Stonewall Riots of June 28, 1969.
The Riots mark the beginning of our modern movement for equality. Forty years later, we’ve made great progress. Countless states, cities and other jurisdictions have passed LGBT-inclusive laws. Marriage equality is on the march. Federal law now recognizes anti-LGBT hate crimes. In the Carolinas, we’ve also seen a good number of successes on local and even some statewide levels.
But all of this progress wouldn’t have been possible without the chain of events set off after the Stonewall Riots.
Gay journo Michael Lavers, national news editor for Edge Media Network, took to discussing the state of LGBT print media in the Village Voice‘s annual “Queer Issue” this week.
His piece, titled “Gay Print Media on the Wane,” rehashes the demise of Window Media — once the nation’s largest LGBT newspaper company — and delves into the possible future of gay journalism.
In the story, Lavers writes that the rise of digital media has given traditional print media a run for its money. No doubt there. He also details some specific challenges to gay media and proclaims some new “kings of the forest” (he calls them the “new gay press establishment”) in the process.
On Wednesday, a federal jury ruled against the City of Philadelphia and their desire to evict the local Boy Scout council, Cradle of Liberty, from a city-owned building for which the Scouts pay $1 per year.
According to The Associated Press:
The city had insisted that nonprofits given free use of its property must abide by local anti-discrimination laws, which include equal protection for gays. But the jury found the city’s reason violated the local scout council’s First Amendment rights.
“We do hope that eventually national (Boy Scouts of America) will change its minds. But at this point, the Cradle of Liberty (Council) is still obligated to follow its policy,” said foreman Merrill Arbogast, 40, of Reinholds, a trucker and former Eagle Scout.
In their lawsuit, the scouts had sought an injunction barring the city from evicting them, or charging $200,000 a year in rent, on their stately Beaux Arts headquarters building.
The ban on evicting the Scouts was not immediately issued by the judge overseeing the case. According to the piece, “he told jurors the city’s anti-discrimination policy is ‘principled’ and said he hoped the two ‘honorable institutions’ could work something out.”