PGN: Philadelphia Gay News

It’s nice working fast, having a lot seen

I’ve had another busy week with some big stories I had to write quickly. Reminds me of old times. Notice here, four stories on the homepage. (Unfortunately, I can’t put anything on the website, yet.)

The first story was the last to happen. We received word a very prominent neighborhood man most people seemed to know (unfortunately, I didn’t) had passed away, and editor Denise sent me a note to see if I could start researching and writing. (It was the breaking news I referred to in my last post, finding out Tuesday afternoon.)

I learned about Donald Carter using Facebook pages from people who knew him and also a special Family Portraits column that was written for its tenth anniversary. It was the only article on Carter I could find in the PGN archives and it was gold! Turns out, he actually inspired the column!
The executive directors of several local organizations were nice enough to get back to me with the basics for the obit and also quotes. Then, at perhaps the last moment before no more changes could be made, I got a call and was able to put the date, time and place of Carter’s memorial at the end, instead of “PGN will report when we learn details about a memorial.” So that was done.

Before that, I spent a night at church. Broad Street Ministry hosted author Jeff Chu as guest preacher. Chu, who comes from a religious family and is now a seminary student, traveled the country looking for answers about religion and his sexuality, and wrote a book called Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America. Very friendly people, diverse and low key on the “Avenue of the Arts” part of Broad Street. Great experience overall!

Broad Street Ministry calls itself “an alternative church community” welcoming “not just those who are on the margins of faith but those who are on the margins of society.” That night, speakers mentioned how the Methodists were meeting and hoped members would vote to be inclusive. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

Chicago held an historic mayoral election to replace Rahm Emanuel and it ended with a rare no-decision. More than a dozen candidates ran, so none could capture more than 50 percent of the vote. Now, it’ll be down to two black women, one of them lesbian, and that’s why it made PGN.

I wrote both of those stories on the last day and both actually made it into the paper. That may not seem like a big deal but it is when pages have to be laid out perfectly, with nothing extra to get cut off or white space when there’s not enough material. I certainly can’t take any credit for the layout. I just try to write close to the right number of words they want.

And then, there was Street Talk, which is quickly becoming regular. Last time, I wrote how difficult it can be to get anyone to talk. (Then, of course, people will complain that people like them were not represented. The solution is simple:

Talk to me when I talk to you!)

Last week, the subject was one everyone seemed to be talking about (not exclusively since there has been so much news): the alleged attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett. I absolutely had to get different types of people since he reported being assaulted for both race and sexuality. It started off tougher than any other Street Talk I:d done, but ended up easier. It seems there’s no rhyme or reason to Street Talk.

And I did my interviews without wearing this hat I realized I had afterward!

It came from the good folks in the Tri-Cities, since our NBC affiliate had the CW station on a sub-channel and programmed the Fox station (where Empire airs, with a very old link since Sinclair took over the website and got rid of anything current there).

We sure had a link when I was there, as part of the main station, WCYB’s (like the CW link, in the paragraph above)! In fact, see what happens when you go to now! There’s no excuse to have gotten rid of something that was there and useful. Now, how are viewers even supposed to know what shows will be on?

Technically, Fox affiliate WEMT was sold to Cunningham Broadcasting. That doesn’t matter one bit. Thursday will be exactly one year since I wrote this about Cunningham, with information from Variety:

“More than 90 percent of that company’s stock is controlled by trusts owned by the estate of Carolyn Smith, the late wife of Sinclair founder Julian Smith and mother of Sinclair chairman David Smith. So the Smith children own it. Talk about a shell corporation! Cunningham owns 20 stations but at least 14 of them are run by Sinclair!”

Here, I never got anything from the local Fox-owned station except a St. Patrick’s day t-shirt and hat.

Click here to return to the PGN, 2019: Reporter, Copy Editor, Social Media Specialist page.

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