What has to be one of the most common complaints editors hear from readers is, “It’s not newsworthy.” For example, when someone’s brother gets arrested for performing sex acts on the family cat and it shows up in the paper, they get mad and call the editor. “It’s not newsworthy,” they say.
This same type of criticism is rearing its ugly head over in the comments thread to this story about Queer Liberaction. But my question is, how much of this criticism is based on the fact that the commenters really don’t think it’s newsworthy, and how much of it is based on the fact that they just don’t want it in the newspaper?
One of the first things QL founder Blake Wilkinson said when I called him this week was, “Why is it that you guys will never cover Queer Liberaction’s events, but then when there is internal squabbling, you want to write about it?”
I told Wilkinson to go back through our issues and review our coverage since the group formed last November. How many times have QL events been featured in a photo on our front page? I just now counted, and the answer is seven. That’s right, seven times out of about 40 issues QL demonstrations have been the main photo on the front page of Dallas Voice. Wilkinson also alleged we haven’t covered anything they’ve done in the last month. My response was that DVtv’s Israel Luna produced an excellent video segment for us about QL’s Kiss-In just a few weeks ago, and that this had been my idea. Wilkinson didn’t have any response to that, and he finally agreed to discuss with me what’s going on with QL.
So while some would undoubtedly prefer that we didn’t cover QL at all, others want coverage, but only when it’s in a positive light and only when they feel it’s “newsworthy.” The problem with this is, we would never grant such treatment to any LGBT group or individual, and for obvious reasons.
Consider this hypothetical: If Stonewall Democrats President Erin Moore were to kick Jay Narey and Mike Lo Vuolo off the group’s board because they wanted to start another group with a competing mission, we would absolutely report on it. I’m not saying the same coverage would be given to every internal squabble at any LGBT organization, but Daniel Cates and Latisha McDaniel were high-profile board members for Queer Liberaction, which as I noted above has been a high-profile group.
Cates and McDaniel were the co-chairs of this year’s Million Gay March, which was organized by a coalition of local LGBT leaders and which drew more than 1,000 people. And they say they were kicked off the QL board because they insisted on starting another group that they hope will get along better with the rest of the community.
Now if that’s not newsworthy, I don’t know what is.
P.S. — After reading the story comments thread and this post, Publisher Robert Moore suggested that I also address the criticism that we don’t cover Fort Worth. There’s probably no better way to address this than by pointing to the centerpiece story on today’s front page about the AIDS Outreach Center, and the lead story in our Life+Style section about the aftermath of the Rainbow Lounge raid.