Bil Browning

LGBT Media Shrinks Further: 365gay to Close

Filed By Bil Browning | September 11, 2011 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: independent bloggers, Jennifer Vanasco, LGBT media, Logo

As the LGBT online world continues to refocus, consolidate, and reorganize, longtime queer news site 365gay.com has become the latest casualty. door-bolt.jpgEditor-In-Chief Jennifer Vanasco brings us the details:

Some of you have been reading since 365gay was started as a Canadian publication in the 1990s. Some of you have been reading since Logo took over, in 2006. Some of you are newer - last year, last month, last week.
...
Now, it's coming to an end.

September 30 will be our last day of operations. Logo has shifted its online strategy and so the site is closing and I am moving on to other things.

365gay.com is one of the many corporate-owned sites that have also struggled financially as the economy continues to flounder. LGBT social media site connexion.org recently announced it will be closing up shop on Sept 14.

When I complain about the trouble large-scale popular independent bloggers are having lately, keep in mind that these corporate sites have more ability to attract advertisers and financial backing than we do. Pam's House Blend was forced to consolidate with FireDogLake to relieve pressure from owner Pam Spaulding; I'm the only full-time editor left here at Bilerico Project. Some other site owners are quietly discussing further changes that will shrink the LGBT online media even more.

Interestingly enough, the sites that seem to be having problems most are those who do original reporting and long-form opinion or analysis pieces while short-form bloggers who clip quotes from other sources and include a basic rewrite of some facts or a witty remark continue to grow readership and attract advertisers. I'd be interested to hear Projectors' thoughts on why the trend is happening and where it'll end.


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I don't know that we ought to necessarily be mourning what was essentially a cut-and-paste site, with problematic results (I don't see Bil asking for us to mourn; I'm simply echoing a general tone that this is somehow a regrettable event).

Some years ago, 365 carried a highly problematic “report” claiming homophobia on the part of Muslim parents of school-age children in London. It was shoddily done, with aspersions cast that were never verified by actually contacting parents to check what was said, and when I wrote to 365 to ask about sources, I got no answer, as I recall.

The piece eventually disappeared, as is common with such sites. Which is to say: 365 and others of its ilk contribute to a form of news gathering, not reporting, which is little more than a cut and paste job. Even the pieces by its supposed “correspondents” are little more than culling from local blogs or news sources.

There are no permanent records of the damage that spurious news can create, but the long-term effects – in this case, the strengthening of the belief that all Muslim parents are inherently homopbobic – can be devastating. This is true of several kinds of instances in LGBT media - which frequently pushes aside the most basic principles of reporting in favour of an "equality" agenda or in favour of a perspective that might bolster the victim mentality that the community media tends to foster.

All of which is to say: I wouldn't mourn HuffPo if it disappeared, and I don't mourn 365 gay.com.

Perhaps, instead of seeing this as a loss, we might consider this as a way to rethink our commonly held perception that cut and paste writing constitutes any kind of journalism. Perhaps the truth is simply that the model for 365, of aggregation, is no longer attractive or viable, and that it should not be.

Looking through 365, I don't see any evidence that it contributed to the kind of forceful and rigorous journalism that we need more of. Instead, I would argue, it appears to have contributed to the erosion of the same.

To paraphrase: don't mourn. Organise a better model. One that's not built on HuffPo ideals of aggregation (and, in many cases, even if not that of 365 in particular, the rank exploitation of writers' labour).

I didn't see the piece to which you refer, but your experience speaks to the need for transparency in the news media (old and new). I don't see how that happens without some sort of editorial discernment. I think Bil had a good nugget of a model when Bilerico had "local" editions. The format allowed for editorial input while covering localized stories.

I think that an organization like Bilerico serving as a platform to support a network of writers in various parts of the country could work. The question then becomes one of finance. How does Bilerico stay free to the readers and pay for the editorial and operations functions?

Rachel Bellum | September 13, 2011 2:15 AM

I won't pretend to know anything about the financial or business side of it, but I have been hoping that TBP would expand to having a main national site and additional sites for each state. While I definitely want to keep abreast of things at a national level, one of the nice things about TBP is that it's not centered on some "gay mecca" or solely on the issues/news encountered in such.

Frankly it's harder to keep in touch with local and state level LGBT news than national despite the democratizing influence of the internet. My local NPR station airs BBC news at night which means I am often more informed about British news (down to a regional level), than the news of my state. I have often been very informed about happenings in Indiana and Florida while seeing important events local to me getting little to no "air time" on any LGBT site.

I'm not saying this as a negative criticism of TBP. I would personally just like to see the TBP format, which I really appreciate and enjoy, expanded further to cover more local regions. I think this would not only be informative and entertaining, but useful to the community.

While I am one of those "short-form bloggers who clip quotes from other sources and include a basic rewrite of some facts or a witty remark", I count on those of you who provide the coverage. I do post from sources and give credit to who and where I got them. Your work is being passed on. I started my site to pass information I found to be interesting and important to get the message out about our LGBT population. I have few followers and no support. Just time on my hands.
I used to read 365gay.com all the time but in the last year or 2 the format changed. It began to have more crap and less content. They also fell behind in posting the real news. When John Corvino left, I stopped going to the site all together. It turned into a magazine full of stuff.
Your site, joemygod.com,holybulliesandheadlessmonsters.blogspot.com, and pamshouseblend.com are my 4 favs. You all keep us up to date on what is happening and have commentary that is worth my time and often pass along full length.
I hope that the LGBT bloggers don't just dry up when we need them most.

You're right on target. I enjoyed 365Gay even when it was a predominantly Canadian site because it was full of news, information and good writing. I visited every day, for years.

Then Logo took it over, converting it to pabulum. I also quit the Logo TV network after an email exchange with an executive there. I had complained about their bleeping of comedians, their removing their best content (like Noah's Ark) and adding shows that were embarrassingly heterosexual, but with gay personalities involved. The executive told me that they had to target both LGBT and non-LGBT audiences, in order to be successful. In other words, they were trying to create gay content for a much larger straight audience.

They killed the station, for me, though they've achieved some limited cable success. Now they killed 365Gay, which they turned into a superficial, predictable experience with long lead times to news stories you could find many other places, and old, stale stories on the main page long past the time they started to stink.

The only thing I will miss is Troy, the excellent, insightful and funny comic strip they hosted.

In the long run sites committed to GLBT equality can only be maintained by large GLBT movement groups.

Individuals don't have the resources to compete with right centrist megasites like HuffPo, Daily KOS and the others.

What's still missing is a LGBT equality movement with a democratic (not Democrat) leadership and a membership/leadership committed to mass action, political independence and a militant program emphasizing the need for a Constitutional Amendment for equality and an intensification of the defense of our right to marry.

Speaking only about 365gay.com, unfortunately some time ago it stopped presenting information that was different from what was available elsewhere and it also stopped making whatever information it did provide in an accessible manner. So I stopped bothering.

I think maybe I could count the number of times I visited 365gay.com on one hand -- but judging from this entire thread, it sounds like a corporation took over a well-established site, then assumed that LGBT readers had the same reading habits and desires as the Saturday morning cartoon crowd, and screwed the site up royally. Like the junk food industry, they tried to cram down our throats the high-fructose corn syrup they wanted to sell.

I don't have cable TV so I don't watch Logo, but from what I hear, Logo is a bunch of asshats who have no idea what the real LGBT audience wants -- but they are in love with the perception they have of us, based mostly on their stereotypes and fantasies of the dizzy idiots they think we are. They'd have to be in love with their own delusions or they wouldn't make such lousy business decisions, flushing millions down the crapper relying on said delusions.

I don't give a hoot about 365gay.com going down the tubes -- but I do get pissed at big money moving into our LGBT media and fucking things up trying to make quick bucks off of us. To Hell with'em!

Not to nitpick, but the headline should say "shrink," not "shrinks," because "media" is a plural noun.

I'm not really mourning the loss of 365gay.com. I started reading it religiously about 8 years ago I think. At a certain point though they started posting news updates with a lot of delay. Around that time I also discovered Towleroad.com, which is very up-to-date. Towleroad has been my main source of LGBT news for 3 or 4 years now, and I've stopped reading 365gay.com altogether for about as long.

Rachel Bellum | September 13, 2011 2:42 AM

Although I find James Withers interesting, after Corvino left there really wasn't much reason to ever check in on the 365 site.

For some time, their news was usually covered better and faster elsewhere. Despite their "ask an expert" segments, it really made no use of the interactive aspects of the net. The rest was gay travel, gay sex, gay shopping and gay investment tips which I never found interesting or useful.

With all due respect, I'm not sure it was the difficult financial times we are experiencing or that, as others have already said, they stopped providing compelling reasons to be an interested reader.

Rachel Bellum | September 13, 2011 3:03 AM

Additionally, if we are discussing long form versus short form blogging, while perhaps glossier than many sites I think most of 365gay's content could be described as short form blogging.

At least we won't be subjected to any more of Joe Kort's "expert" sexual "advice."

I personally am not that surprised or upset about the death of 365gay. I had started reading it just shortly after logo took over it, but before they actually started to change it. When I had stated there it did have actually news content and like this site actual reporting, and opinion/brake downs of news too. Then Logo made changes that made it harder to find the new content as it got buried and hidden under the fluff you get in a magazine like People or Cosmo, the sorts of junk I don't read. I stopped visiting the sight entirely after they basically dropped the news content for lifestyle fluff.

I to could be said to be a "short-form blogger who clip quotes from other sources and include a basic rewrite of some facts or a witty remark" when I blog I don't have a big audience I always link to the original sources with encouragement to read them. But I also don't present any pretence of being a source of reporting, but instead my blog is my own personal OPED column basically. (that and not exclusively LGBT topics it ranges from cars-mental health lol) But I depend on long form LGBT blogs like this one to keep me informed.

If I had to venture a guess on why the short form is growing so fast I would guess partly because many of them have audience from other places (like YouTube etc where they have a fain base they have pulled from) that and the large number of such blogs, that since most of them are hobbies done by people who have other jobs that pay the bills, it dose not matter if they make money on the blog or not.