Another chaotic year comes to a close, my 16th at the Blade. With the breakneck pace of news these days — Mueller indictments! A Cabinet secretary resigns! We’re pulling out of Syria! — you might be wondering about the continued relevance of a weekly printed newspaper.
Although I have always been platform agnostic (I don’t care if you read the Blade in print, on a desktop or phone as long as you’re reading the Blade), the week-in-review product remains a compelling and informative format for modern consumers of news.
With Donald Trump controlling the pace of things and with mainstream outlets like CNN and MSNBC hanging on his every inane Tweet, it can be easy to get distracted. Sitting down with the Blade and other weeklies at the end of a chaotic week of smartphone news alerts and cacophonous social media blabber can be a calming, informative exercise.
Earlier this year, Farhad Manjoo took a digital break and received all his news from print publications for two months. He wrote about his findings for the New York Times, concluding with this sage advice: “Get news. Not too quickly. Avoid social.”
Manjoo reported that due to his print-only news diet, he avoided angry social media comments and wasn’t exposed to false rumors that now frequently get reported as fact during breaking news situations, like the Parkland mass shooting.
“We have spent much of the past few years discovering that the digitization of news is ruining how we collectively process information,” he wrote. “Technology allows us to burrow into echo chambers, exacerbating misinformation and polarization and softening up society for propaganda.”
So thank you for including the Blade in your news media diet for another year. We hope you find that it helps focus attention on LGBTQ issues that matter as we try to avoid the daily — sometimes hourly — Twitter distractions.
This year brought many memorable stories, recapped in this issue. With our dedicated White House reporter, Chris Johnson, the Blade aims to hold the administration accountable on everything from the trans military ban to the status of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS. Meanwhile, the tireless Lou Chibbaro Jr. covered a rash of hate crimes targeting D.C. gay men and delivered a blockbuster report on the unsolved murders of 10 LGBT people in the District. The Blade’s international news editor, Michael Lavers, traveled extensively throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, bringing heartbreaking stories from Honduras, El Salvador and elsewhere as LGBTI migrants risk their lives to travel to the United States. That project, I’m happy to report, will continue throughout 2019. Our dynamic duo features team of Joey DiGuglielmo and Mariah Cooper deliver local arts and entertainment news, celebrity interviews and recommendations for the best in LGBTQ film, theater, art and more. Our photo editor, Michael Key, continues his award-winning coverage of all the District’s news, documenting everything from White House protests to the annual High Heel Race.
The most exciting news in the coming year for us is the Blade’s 50th anniversary celebration. The newspaper was founded in the immediate aftermath of Stonewall and remains sharp after nearly 50 years. We will debut a redesigned print product early in the year and we’ll be announcing a series of special events to help commemorate the milestone anniversary. If you’d like to take part, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, again, thank you for reading and advertising in the Blade. Our work is critical as the administration continues its cruel efforts at erasing transgender people and demonizing immigrants and others. We look forward to serving you in 2019 and to celebrating 50 years as America’s LGBTQ news source. Happy holidays!
Kevin Naff is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at email@example.com.