By: Staff Reports

Study Reports Gay, Lesbian Journalists’ Opinion on News Coverage

Mainstream media coverage of gay and lesbian issues is more sensitive
and balanced than it was ten years ago, but there is still room for
improvement according to gay and lesbian journalists who participated
in a recent study.

The University of Southern California study, ‘Lesbians and Gays in
the Newsroom – Ten Years Later,’ was presented yesterday at the Annual National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association meeting held in San
Francisco this week.

The study found that coverage of hot-button issues such as Matthew
Shepard and Ellen DeGeneres – both subjects reaching national news
levels – got higher marks than local gay community coverage.

‘Ten years ago, we [lesbians and gays] were happy with bones thrown
our way,’ said survey respondent Maria M. Cornelius, assistant
managing editor at the Knoxville, Tenn., News-Sentinel. ‘Now we want
to be a legitimate part of the community and covered [by the media]
in the same way as sports, religions and family [are].’

Most respondents to the 65-question survey reported they are ‘out’
to their colleagues and managers. However, many of them still
reported anti-gay slurs as common place in the nation’s newsrooms.

The study was co-authored by Leroy Aarons, director of the Program
for the Study of Sexual Orientation Issues in the News at USC’s
Annenberg School for Communication, and Sheila Murphy, associate
professor of communication at Annenberg.


(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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