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A note on transitions and new opportunities

By now, many of you might have heard through QNotes, Facebook, Twitter, or Creative Loafing fine editor, Mark Kemp, that I will be stepping down from my position at QNotes on Jan. 20. It’s been a fantastic experience and one for which I’m truly grateful. Below is the letter I sent to many personal friends, acquaintances and colleagues after my resignation was announced by the paper.

Dear friends and colleagues,

It is with humility and gratitude that I write tonight to let you know that I will be stepping down from my role as editor of QNotes, the Charlotte-based LGBT newspaper and North Carolina’s premier source of news, opinion and arts and entertainment coverage. My last day with the paper will be Jan. 20, 2012, as announced by the paper on Tuesday evening (http://goqnotes.com/14053/).

On Jan. 23, I will begin work as the new communications and programs manager for Campus Pride, a Charlotte-based, national non-profit group that works to create safer environments for LGBT students on college and university campuses across the United States. An official announcement from the organization should be soon forthcoming.

As I prepare to take on new challenges, I find it necessary to pause and thank each and every one of you for your support of me and of this newspaper. Each of you has contributed in myriad ways to the success of this community, of Charlotte, of North Carolina and of this organization. Personally, each of you has made my life richer and fuller.

But, don’t think for a minute that this is a goodbye. You don’t get away from me that easily, haha.

Though I am leaving QNotes, I will remain an avid and vocal supporter for our community and for independent, progressive and LGBT-inclusive news-media. As always, I’ll continue to advocate for fair and equitable coverage from mainstream news-media organizations and will remain a committed advocate for progress and change. I hope new opportunities allow me to be more involved in our community in new and exciting ways, especially as the May 8, 2012, vote on North Carolina’s anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment draws near.

Again, thank you for all you have done to support me both personally and professionally. Thank you once more for the support you have given and will continue to give to QNotes and my yet-to-be-announced successor.

I humbly welcome your continued support, friendship and kindness, and hope you will continue to follow me in my new endeavors at Campus Pride. I’m excited about the opportunity to help Campus Pride grow and further fulfill its mission in supporting the future leaders of our community and nation.

Additionally, I hope you’ll stop by from time-to-time here at my blog, InterstateQ.com, where I will resume more regular posting. There, I will continue to provide the same objective, fair and progressive-minded coverage of the ongoing anti-LGBT amendment campaign you’ve come to expect from my work at QNotes and where I will continue providing commentary on local, state and national LGBT and progressive political affairs.

With love and wishes for a happy New Year,

Matt Comer
336-391-9528
matt@mattcomer.net
twitter.com/interstateq
facebook.com/matthew.mh.comer

Some jobs aren’t fabulous. Many don’t get praise or recognition. Folks who work in these jobs are often given nary a passing thought by most people whose lives would be dramatically different if not for the services these workers provide.

There’s lots of examples. The garbage man (and woman) is one. Honestly, how many people think about the people who collect your trash on a weekly basis — the shit (figuratively and literally) they have to deal with as they weave their mammoth trucks through small neighborhood side streets picking up your untouchables?

Another example might be those who work for your municipality’s sewage and water treatment system or those who work for portable toilet services. That hot dog you ate at the county fair was mighty tasty, but you drop it off at the portable toilet and you’re on your way happily ever after. Tell me, have you ever paused to think what a Porta-John employee’s work day is like, cleaning up after your bodily waste? I doubt most people have.

Unfortunately, journalists get a similar type of treatment. Though journalists are far from ignored — because they’re regular targets of public disdain and contempt — they do live in a world where their jobs are largely underpaid, under-appreciated and under-utilized (especially as traditional, print news-media companies continue to languish in a lack of innovation under the ever-continuing move to online news and entertainment).

Ultimately, public disdain for journalism emanates, I believe, from a collective, public ignorance that neither understands nor really much cares about the types of real, meaningful and important services journalists actually provide their local communities, states and nation.

Such is the case with a recent example from The Charlotte Observer. Continue reading this post…

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, ColorLinesKai 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.

Wright, a former Washington Blade writer, spoke with Rod McCullom of Rod 2.0; Miriam Zoila Pérez, an editor at Feministing and the founder of Radical Doula; and Pam Spaulding of PamsHouseBlend.com.

Continue reading this post…

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.

Naff writes:

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.

Read Naff’s full thoughts at WashingtonBlade.com.

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Is gay print media in its last throes?

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.

Continue reading this post…