Friday, November 20, 2009
Saluting Tennessee's GLBT media
The demise of Window Media, which operated important GLBT news publications like the Washington Blade and Southern Voice, should make those of us in Tennessee pause and be grateful for what we have right here. The Washington Blade staff have banded together to form DCAgenda, so there are some signs of recovery. But the situation shows the vulnerability of local communities to the financial difficulties that plague national media companies.
Local GLBT newspapers play a vital role in not only reporting the news, but giving a community a sense of itself. It would be difficult to gauge the role that Inside Out Nashville, Out & About Newspaper, and the Triangle Journal have played over the last few years in creating forward-moving discourse in Tennessee's GLBT community, particularly in Memphis and Nashville/Middle Tennessee.
They are information hubs with spokes that reach deeper into the community than any of our other organizations. It would be hard to imagine the impact if they simply ceased publication one day. Local ownership of these publications has been good for the community.
The obvious gap in the picture is East Tennessee. Knoxville, Chattanooga, and the Tri-Cities are not currently served by their own GLBT newspapers. Those communities find themselves in a bit of a vicious circle in that there may not be enough ad revenue to support a publication, but without a newspaper it is hard for a community to become sufficiently connected and to grow. Social networking tools are starting to help connect those communities, but the effect is more diffused.
Hopefully, we will be able to sustain our Memphis and Middle Tennessee publications. It's a tough business in a market that is constantly changing. The cost of losing them is something I hope we don't have to face during these critical years in the movement for equality.