Gay Print Media on the Wane

The Internet spells doom for many long-established periodicals

Gay City News, which called out the Times, has done exemplary reporting on police entrapment in public parks and bookstores. The Washington Blade’s Lou Chibbaro Jr., the Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld, and Gay City NewsDuncan Osborne are good examples of gym-shoe reporters who chase down scoops that the mainstream press either don’t see or don’t consider important.

On the flipside of all the gloom, big news organizations have finally recognized gay consumers’ $700 billion purchasing power and are entering into online partnerships. The Advocate is posting relevant stories from NBC News on its website, as is Edge Media Network’s feed of news and human-interest stories from CBS News. (CBS had previously partnered with Logo.)

With an increasing amount of potential advertising revenue at stake, the desire for mainstream media outlets to tap into the lucrative gay market is bigger than ever. The question remains whether this eagerness has come at the expense of the very publications that even made gay media possible in the first place. The Advocate was a key player in gay rights for four decades, and in the immediate wake of Stonewall, in-your-face papers like Boston’s Fag Rag helped turn a localized riot into a mass movement.

“It’s sad, in a way, because the newspaper and the magazine played such a role in the liberation struggle,” Leap laments. “It’s so sad to think some of those magazines that helped move the struggle forward are shutting down.” [The print version of this story should have disclosed that Lavers serves as the Edge's national news editor.]

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