”Glee.” “True Blood.” “Modern Family.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Which one of these doesn’t belong with the others? It’s a list that’s left some Atlanta media watchers scratching their head.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation on Thursday announced its nominees for its 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards. The gala event beginning in March – actually, versions are held in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco through May – honors media for outstanding images of the LGBT community. The AJC is among five daily newspapers nominated in the category of Outstanding Newspaper Overall Coverage; others include the Denver Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Salt Lake Tribune.
But the AJC has slashed its staff and retrenched to the suburbs to stem its sliding circulation. In the process, the paper has skipped major LGBT events, pulled back on its coverage and – just this month – used “transvestite” in coverage of a cross-dressing purse snatcher. Note to GLAAD: That offensive term goes against your own media reference guide.
Does that sort of treatment match the ideals of the GLAAD Media Awards? Check GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios’ description and decide for yourself.
“This year’s nominees represent some of the images and stories at the root of the growing acceptance of our community and support for our equality,” Barrios says in a press release. “They also have created a benchmark for inclusion of our community that other media outlets should look to. As GLAAD celebrates 25 years of working with the media, we are proud to recognize this year’s nominees, and we challenge the industry to share more stories that reflect the diversity of our community and the challenges that gay and transgender people face.”
We don’t think so. Neither does the GA Voice, which has tweaked the paper over its lack of Pride coverage and again Thursday for the GLAAD nomination.
GLAAD plays an important role in the Gay Establishment. They’ve battled Dr. Laura (and won), taken on offensive portrayals of LGBT characters on TV and cheered on others who offer uplifting and positive portrayals in media. (Though we do question why the nominations also include the Advocate and a handful of LGBT blogs. Covering gay is their job, don’t cha think?)
The group has also gone on an Atlanta offensive since last year, working with local organizers to boost its profile and raise funds. They’ve twice hosted rounds of their national Thank GLAAD It’s Friday series in Atlanta, benefitted from Atlanta artist Nabil Mousa putting his passion for gay equality on canvas and raised cash from a packed pool party and fashion fundraiser last summer.
But the inclusion of the AJC in their nominations shows the group, like some other national organizations, glosses over the reality of local issues and offers a tin ear. Heck, the AJC didn’t even include its own nomination in its coverage of the GLAAD Media Awards announcement.