Straight News: Gays, Lesbians, and the News Media

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Columbia University Press, 1998 - Social Science - 368 pages
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From the flurry of reportage on alleged homosexual depravity in the 1950s to the growing sensitivity to the AIDS epidemic, symbolized by broadcast journalist Paul Wynne's seven-month coverage of his own illness on San Francisco television, Straight News traces the stories that made the cut and the changing attitudes toward gay issues that they represent. In addition, Alwood examines major stories that received scant attention in the mainstream media - such as the Stonewall rebellion of 1969 and the mass murder at New York's Ramrod bar in 1980 - throwing light on the ways in which news stories are generated, assigned, and edited, and how the process of deciding what's news and what's not has historically led to the exclusion of gay and lesbian voices and concerns. Straight News also explores how lesbian and gay journalists have fared in the nation's newsrooms. Drawing on a series of interviews, Alwood documents the struggles of closeted journalists to keep their personal lives private when disclosure would have jeopardized their careers. He points to the recent emergence and growing acceptance of openly gay journalists in the mainstream media, including Randy Shilts of the San Francisco Chronicle and Linda Villarosa, the executive editor at Essence, who announced her lesbianism in a 1991 article. Throughout the book, Alwood provides a far-reaching historical review of the attempts in the gay community to gain responsible news coverage and describes efforts to create an independent voice in a lesbian and gay press, from the Mattachine Review to the Advocate.

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Straight news: gays, lesbians, and the news media

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Alwood, a former CNN reporter, offers a fascinating insider's view of the evolution of the news media's coverage of gay men and lesbians from the 1940s to the 1990s. He maintains that the media has ... Read full review

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About the author (1998)

Edward D. berkowitz is professor of history and public policy and public administration at George Washington University. He is the author of eight books and the editor of three collections. During the seventies he served as a staff member of the President's Commission for a National Agenda, helping President Carter plan for a second term that never came to be.

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