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Homosexuals have more fun!

"Gay participants in several cities complained of an almost total absence of coverage of gay culture, events and interests...They're mostly good liberals down there (at the newspaper) and they try, but they are still pretty touchy about gay stories."
--Haiman, Best Practices for Newspaper Journalists, pages 43-56

I thought these two quotes were pretty interesting because they reflect some of the difficulties with including diversity in newspapers, particularly with the gay community. Newspapers are supposed to be objective and unbiased, but it's "liberal" to include "gay stories"? The fact that people consider covering the gay community in a positive way is considered "liberal" is something that makes me very angry, but that may just be my politics. I don't believe it should be considered "political" to include stories about gay couples who have normal, monogamous lifestyles, but the fact that some people do may be what hinders newspapers from covering gay people in a comprehensive and fair manner. Because so much of the conservative rhetoric against gay marriage is aimed at inciting fear that gay people publicly acknowledging their relationships will destroy the moral framework of society, depicting the truth of many gay people's lives--happy, well-adjusted, and healthy lifestyles--goes against that rhetoric. Is that political? I would just call it fair and objective reporting. I don't think it should be called "liberal." There's nothing wrong with reporting on more "flamboyant" gay people, as the man from Portland on page 44 says, but when that's all the newspaper is covering, they're conforming to a stereotype that confirms some people's misguided beliefs about the gay community in general. The dilemma is that some people don't want to hear about the full complexity of these people's lives. It's not necessarily pushing one political agenda if you're objectively reporting facts that may change the conversation about a certain issue. As a reporter, you can't ignore them. That's why I think this is an area of reporting where newspapers need to be less afraid of what the readership will think in order to really get the truth out there.

Comments (2)

Aja Hannah:

I agree with this. And so often when you hear of gay people in the media, it is about the marriage laws. There are other things to talk about or you could just cite their monogamous-happy relationship as a quote when talking about a relationship story (without/or trying your hardest to not) putting a bias in there.

Andrew Wichrowski:

While I agree that most newspapers are still hesitant to cover news in the gay community for fear of backlash from socially conservative readers, there are some exceptions to the rule. I find that the New York Times usually has no qualms about covering anything dealing with LGBT issues. They will frequently feature homosexual couples in their wedding announcement section, and their on-going, online "One in Eight Million" features people of many different sexual orientations (recently including a transgendered woman and her life-story).

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