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Gay Newspaper Man Thinks Newspapers Beat Blogs

 

Pick up a copy of last month’s Philadelphia Gay News and turn to the publisher’s comments for an interesting read. Oh, what’s that? You don’t live in Philadelphia, and therefore have no access to copies of PGN? Well, that’s no problem: just click over to their website to read the commentary, which is all about how websites are inferior to paper.

“The king of LGBT media is your local LGBT publication,” publisher Mark Segal begins. “Just like the one you’re reading right now.” Lol!

Of blogs, he says, “few were started with actual journalists or writing professionals, and fewer with media business savvy.” Well, yes, that’s definitely true. Sometimes. Queerty’s editors and contributors have several books under their belts, and bylines at The Advocate, the Bay Area Reporter, SF Weekly, NBC Bay Area, After Elton, and High Country News (not to be confused with High Times). Not to brag or anything.

He continues, “many of them keep their material fresh with volunteers or by pumping the comments section.” What does that even mean! What is a comment pump and where do we get one? Is it anything like printing letters to the editor of the newspaper? Because heard that people used to do that, in olden times.

We are certainly not above clickbait, of course, as the image to the right proves. We believe newspapers have a comparable philosophy about bleeding and leading.

Mark goes on, “The real problem is that, with little staff and volunteers, what they generated for the most part were the same stories being run by most other websites.”

Yes, we hear that complaint from a lot of print-defenders. For sure, we reblog and research and rewrite sometimes. But look at the front page of Queerty right now, and we suspect that you’ll find that most of the content is original reporting. Where it isn’t, we add new information to the original story, credit the source, and link back to them.

And you know what? The old fashioned news sources copy too. For every reblogger, there’s a print reporter who snatches a story from a blogger who was on the scene first, or bases an article off of a blogger’s research. Happens to us all the time. And it’s fine. We don’t mind. That’s the way the game works.

And then there’s this: “We’ve been around long enough that our communities know and trust us … We are also a vibrant part of the community, something hard to do in a virtual world.” Oh man, that’s the truth. Writing for the Internets is inescapably different from writing for a geographic group. Online, you’re talking to the world and getting more connections across the globe than reporters two decades ago could even have dreamed of. But when you write for print, you really get to know your subjects and see the impact that your reporting has on your meatspace community.

Is one better than the other? No, we don’t think so. But we also think it’s possible to build a powerful sense of community online, and that’s something we’re working on: over the years, Queerty kind of established a bad-kid attitude and didn’t always play with others. Things are going to be different now, but we don’t expect you to take our word for it. Over time, hopefully it’ll become as evident to Queerty readers as it is for print readers.

There’s been a lot of ink (and tears) spilled over role of print publications and online media for LGBTs lately. Here at Queerty, we feel that there’s room for both, just as there is for live theater, and its successor, television.