HIV and Gay Media: The Vanishing Virus

By Mark S. King

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998.  It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication.  The promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself.  “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star.  The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.”  The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful regularity.  The right to serve openly in the military.  Marriage.  Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public consciousness.  Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in particular, those stories feel stale.  It has all been said so many times before.  Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community.  When new data was reported recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of rising infection rates and a bored readership?  Are they simply reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions:  The 2013 LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.  About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.  Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and international rights.

Mark and Bil.jpgThe absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at #LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various people in attendance.  Their very personal answers – and undeniable passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day.  I will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times?  Is it progress?  And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner, who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping people see the importance of the issue.  I’m glad I have some company in the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices.  Anyone who has the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table, can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

Mark S. King is an activist, author and blogger. This blog post was originally published on his blog My Fabulous Disease.

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/hiv-and-gay-media-the-vanishing-virus/#sthash.VM8SJ8h8.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close. – See
more at:

http://marksking.com/category/my-fabulous-disease/#sthash.EHgX0nga.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/category/my-fabulous-disease/#sthash.EHgX0nga.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/category/my-fabulous-disease/#sthash.EHgX0nga.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/category/my-fabulous-disease/#sthash.EHgX0nga.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/hiv-and-gay-media-the-vanishing-virus/#sthash.6jhNBAEb.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/hiv-and-gay-media-the-vanishing-virus/#sthash.6jhNBAEb.dpuf

HIV and Gay Media: The Vanishing Virus

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/hiv-and-gay-media-the-vanishing-virus/#sthash.6jhNBAEb.dpuf

HIV and Gay Media: The Vanishing Virus

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/hiv-and-gay-media-the-vanishing-virus/#sthash.6jhNBAEb.dpuf

Credentials Please – International AIDS Conference Edition

nlgjaIf you work for a major (or minor) traditional media outlet, getting credentials to attend events can be a hassle, but in my time as an editor I’ve never had credentials requests rejected for someone working for me (even freelancers).  But what if you own your own publication or news site, or  freelance writer trying to sell a story after attending an event.  Even worse, what if you are a blogger how isn’t employed by anyone except yourself?  The 2012 International AIDS Conference is only the most recent event creating challenges for bloggers who want to cover the event.

Here’s the requirements sent to a well-known blogger:

Internet journalists (Official news website):

  • The complete URL’s of three articles you have written that have been published by a recognized media outlet, with your byline on the article; AND
  • A letter from your editor (on the official letterhead of your organization) stating that he or she supports your application and that you have been assigned to cover the conference; AND
  • A copy of your press card. If you do not have a press card, your editor must state this clearly in the above letter.

Easy enough if you are a blogger who writes for Huffington Post but what if you have your own blog. Who is your editor? What if you don’t have letterhead? And what, for heaven’s sake, is a press card.

Now this is an international conference where journalists come from countries where press cards are issued to journalists. If you cover a government entity, you may have a press card or pass that gives you access. But why is that a barrier to entry for someone who doesn’t come from a country that credentials journalists or you don’t routinely cover government agencies or offices that require credentials (or you have been turned down because, well, you can see where I’m going).

How do bloggers and other freelancers satisfy these requirements? Are there examples of press credentialing policies that you have found to be effective?

At NLGJA, we’ve wrestled with how (or if) we can help bloggers and freelancers in this regard. Is a membership card enough to satisfy some of these requirements? Since we can’t possibly write letters for people looking for credentials, is there a way of assisting journalists who lack the traditional credentials without suggesting NLGJA is “endorsing” or “assigning” the journalist? Please use our comment section to brainstorm on how NLGJA can (or should) help.

Bilerico’s Salvation Army Success Story

We’ve waited too long to take a look at the impact of Bil Browning’s amazing six weeks of attention after posting on Bilerico Project about his opposition to donating to the Salvation Army. The post, which has been an annual event, resulted in a huge response with stories coverage by New York TimesMSNBCFOXUSA Today, and countless other outlets.  The publicity surrounding the story has now led to a meeting with the Salvation Army, something Browning–an NLGJA board member–has been wanting for years.  Browning is encouraging people to submit questions for his meeting with group.

While I’ve personally had mixed feelings about a boycott of Salvation Army, I’ve been incredibly impressed by the reaction to the story and the amount of attention Bil has gotten for his advocacy. It is an amazing achievement to gain the attention of outlets as diverse as the New York Times and Fox for your cause, which is a concern shared by many in the LGBT community.

Beyond the strong, clear argument made by Bil, the other part of this story is the impact social media played in getting the story to go beyond just a post on a popular blog. I sware I read the post 30-40 times on Facebook and from tweets. In the age of self-curated news, a story that spreads via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media means both more hits on the original piece and a wider dissemination of the story.

When I last accessed the story, it had been linked to 149 times on Google Plus and had received an amazing 74,650 likes on Facebook, based on access from Bilerico.  There is no telling how many times the story has been linked-to on Facebook or tweeted or how many other bloggers linked to the story in their efforts.  What is clear is that all that attention translated into even more coverage once the story went mainstream.

So congrats to Bil, social media, and other bloggers for getting this story and issue into the mainstream. And if you have questions for the Salvation Army, let Bil know.

LGBT Bloggers on 2010

Much happened in LGBT news in 2010 and LGBT bloggers have weighed in. Here’s a very subjective wrap-up of the 2010 LGBT wrap-ups that I found interesting:

  • Advocate.com identified its “Newsmakers of the Year” with a list including Rep. Patrick Murphy (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal), Constance McMillen (denied high school prom), Dan Savage and Joel Burns (“It Gets Better” videos).
  • Guest blogger Nathaniel Rogers on Towleroad listed movies with the “best” LGBT characters of 2010, including characters in Black Swan, I Love You Phillip Morris and The Kids Are All Right.
  • Guest blogger Rev. Patrick Cheng on Pam’s House Blend gave a religious perspective on the LGBT news of 2010, including many biblical references for anti-LGBT Christians to ponder.
  • And last but certainly not least, Bil Browning at The Bilerico Project ranks the top 10 LGBT news stories of 2010, including the failure of ENDA, the Uganda “Kill the Gays” bill and same-sex marriage in D.C. (you’ll have to read it to find out what was ranked No. 1).

Should There Be Journalistic Standards For Bloggers?

Andrew Sullivan shares his thoughts on whether bloggers should be held to journalistic standards as part of a series of videos from bigthink.com.

Money quote, for my money:

“There are some very simple rules that apply to all writing: don’t lie; if you’re wrong, correct; do not misrepresent; and try to keep oneself intellectually honest.”

Watch this video posted on his blog, The Daily Dish: