During the week after Christmas, the editorial department here at Dallas Voice got a couple of e-mails from folks who were aghast and angry that we put our LGBT Person of the Year story (it was Joel Burns, by the way) on the cover of our Dec. 24 issue, rather than devoting that front page to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
We certainly don’t deny that the repeal of DADT was likely the biggest single LGBT news story this year. We have covered repeal efforts consistently all year, making sure to get the word out to our readers on each new development as soon as possible. We did that — on the Instant Tea blog — with the Senate vote and the president’s signing of the bill within, oh, practically minutes of the event themselves. When the events were still “new” news.
And we covered the vote and the signing — again in the Dec. 24 print edition. But not on the front page. Why? Because by then, it was no longer “new” news. The vote was a week old. The signing was two days old.
For a weekly newspaper like Dallas Voice, it’s always been hard to keep up with “breaking” news. These days, we live in a digital world where all you have to do is log on to the Internet through your computer or your netbook or your smart phone to know what’s happening practically as it happens, nearly anywhere in the world. For newspapers — even the dailies and especially the weeklies — being able to “break” a news story (be the first to report a story) is virtually impossible.
Dallas Voice has been constantly changing over the past few years to keep up with this changing world. We have changed our format. We have created and redesigned our website. We have started a blog. We post photo “slideshows” of events online. We incorporate video. We use Facebook and Twitter to get the word out. Soon, Dallas Voice will offer a weekly podcast, as well.
This week, we are changing again. Beginning with our Friday, Jan. 7 print edition, the Dallas Voice front page will each week be devoted not to by-publication-time old “breaking” news. Instead, our front page will feature analytical pieces on recent or upcoming events, or in-depth feature stories or profiles. We want our front page, from now on, to always be looking forward — looking at what comes next.
A good example is this Friday’s paper, in which the front page (and several inside pages) are devoted to an overview of the upcoming 82nd session of the Texas Legislature, from an LGBT perspective.
Don’t think we are turning our backs on breaking news. Not by a long shot. In fact, our online editor, John Wright, is ever diligent in scouring every source possible for “breaking” news on LGBT people or issues, and is constantly updating our website, DallasVoice.com, and our Instant Tea blog to make sure that our readers get all the news as quickly as possible.
This way, we believe, we all benefit: Dallas Voice — both the print and online editions — can stay fresh and informative and useful, and our readers can stay constantly informed, enlightened and entertained.
And don’t forget that you can contribute, too. You can comment on any story or blog post or opinion piece on DallasVoice.com. You can also contribute by uploading your own stories, opinions, photos and videos to reader-generated content sections. I encourage you to do so. Every little bit makes this site better for all of us.
So check out this week’s print edition, then come here to DallasVoice.com for all the extras and the breaking news. And remember, we are always working to make this paper and this website a better source of information and entertainment. We are always changing to keep up with a changing world.