Profiling Michael Rogers

A nice profile of Michael Rogers in D.C.’s MetroWeekly by Will O’Bryan. No one generates heat inside traditional LGBT journalism circles more than Mike and he is a force to be reckoned with.  But he’s willing to engage critics and has been at the forefront of LGBT citizen journalism.  The profile is anticipation of Netroots Nation, where Mike is very involved with LGBT online activists.

MW: The last time I interviewed you at length, it was about your online ”mini empire.” But now you seem to be coming full circle, heading back offline.

ROGERS: I think what we had was our legacy organizations – brick and mortar, whatever you want to call them – and then you have this whole new group of people who are shaking up the system. You have an organization and they’re lucky if they get 5,000 [online] visitors a day. Only the biggest are going to get that. But then you have a blogger like Pam, who’s pulling down maybe 20,000 hits a day. Or you have my site, Raw Story, we’re getting 300,000 page views every day. Who can compete with that?

You see the various organizations doing an online presence. It’s very important, but it’s institutional. Most of the organizations don’t allow commenting and there’s really not an exchange.

When an activist screams at HRC or the Task Force, they listen. And when those organizations speak, the activists are listening. It shows how important each is. I don’t know of many places that are doing what I’m trying to do at Netroots Nation. I mean, certainly there are wonderful conferences – there’s the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute, and NGLTF’s Creating Change. But there’s no real space outside of the movement. It’s okay to kind of step back and say, ”Where can we come together and put a face to the text?” It’s easy to hide behind a keyboard and a screen. That’s why there’s this whole shakedown going on. What is a publication? Who is a journalist? What is an editor? This is still evolving, the future of journalism.

But I’ll tell you where journalism is: Pam Spaulding goes to a City Council meeting and tweets the entire thing live. Chris Geidner has to analyze it. They’re both very, very important to the system.

While Mike is most famous for his working on outing closeted politicians, he’s really a much more potent force in working with bloggers–who often have an activist bent–and thinking about the future of online journalism and activism. The article does a nice job of fleshing out Rogers as a force in activism and citizen journalism as opposed to Rogers as an outer.

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