June 24th, 2007
Editors are changing their attitude towards gays and coverage of gay stories, but it’s all too slow
By Leo Laurence
My work as a journalist began in 1947. It was 22 years later that I helped launch the worldwide Gay-Lib movement, 3 months before Stonewall. I got fired by ABCD-KGO in San Francisco as a result. Yet, the world is changing, particularly among young people.
I hang out in a military bar in San Diego. Once, a homophobic civilian came in and caused trouble. My military friends grabbed the man, carried him to the front door and literally threw him out.
“Leo, we like you. You’re safe here. We will protect you,” said a 22-year old straight Marine later.
Yet, on the board of the San Diego SPJ Chapter, I rarely mention my two connections to the diversity community: being Gay or my Latino connections (member also, California Chicano News Media Assn.).
That’s largely because the guys in the military bar are in the low 20s. My fellow board members are much older, and not as open to my sexual orientation or my Latino background.
Most editors are older, and I implore them to listen to the youth of our country and their attitudes to the diversity community.
Does your newsroom have a gay reporter, or Latino, Asian-American or black journalist? If not, ask yourself why not.
Diversity can make your newsroom stronger. Try it!