Recently, an email landed in my inbox asking a very simple question: “The mainstream media is there. Where is Q-Notes?”
The reader had a concern that we hadn’t covered what he thought was important news out of the Raleigh area. I could understand his frustration not seeing a big gay news story in the big gay paper and I’m sure his thoughts are echoed by similar feelings across our audience.
The story was about a Raleigh man convicted of knowingly exposing his sexual partners to HIV (read more here). North Carolina public health laws require those with communicable diseases to take certain steps to decrease the chances disease is spread to other people. As it pertains to HIV, health codes require HIV-positive individuals to practice safe-sex (i.e. use a condom) and notify their present and future sexual partners of their HIV status.
The Q-Notes staff tries hard to track down the news that will most interest our readers and provide them with the most up-to-date coverage of LGBT issues and topics in the Carolinas. Sometimes, though, we’re hampered by the nature of what we are. As a bi-weekly paper, we probably aren’t going to get to the breaking news stories as fast as the mainstream media will — if we even get to them at all. As a bi-weekly paper, the way and the time in which we report the news is a bit different than mainstream media, especially TV media (to which our reader compared our coverage).
In this instance, we didn’t find out about the story until after our deadline. (We have a five day turn-around from the time we send our paper to the press and the time we deliver it to news stands.) Trust me, if we had known about it in time, there would have been a story in the Aug. 23 issue.
It is an unfortunate fact that we can’t and will never be able to get to the news as fast as daily newspapers or mainstream TV networks. By the time you pick us up you’ve already heard all the facts. Because we have a unique perspective on the news and because we recognize the inherent realities of being a bi-weekly, alternative news-magazine, we put all our effort into creating a product you will enjoy and find informative at the same time.
We also like that we’re the ones with the privilege of delving further into the issues and providing you insights the mainstream media often misses or ignores.
As for our story on the HIV-positive Raleigh man, we were able to speak with the executive director of an AIDS service organization in Raleigh. Her perspective wasn’t included by the mainstream media, but it is a unique point of view that adds immeasurably to the value of any discussion on the very delicate issues of HIV/AIDS and its control and prevention.
When I was first hired almost a year ago, some of my first news stories read like breaking news alerts on a daily newspaper’s website. It took me time and experience to learn firsthand that the style of writing at a regional, bi-weekly newspaper like Q-Notes should be more focused on the in-depth and the unknown.
We know you aren’t coming to us for breaking news — or, at least, we hope you aren’t. We can’t serve you in that way, but we can serve you by bringing you the best and most entertaining, uplifting and enlightening analysis and commentary available to the LGBT community in the Carolinas.