The local LGBT news magazine Metro Weekly based in Washington, DC, recently interviewed Kerry Eleveld, the Washington, DC, correspondent for the national LGBT news magazine The Advocate.
As the article by Sean Bugg points out, Eleveld is arguably the face of the LGBT media as a result of her being an active member of the White House press corps.
Having interviewed President Obama twice when he was still a candidate for the office surely helped Eleveld solidfy her LGBT press credentials.
The interview covers a wide range of subjects and it’s well worth reading. Of all the questions she graciously answered, this exchange stood out:
MW: Do you consider yourself an objective journalist or an advocacy journalist? Is it even possible to make that distinction when you’re working for a community that expects a point of view from its news sources?
ELEVELD: I wrestle with that all the time. I would say I walk a fine line because I think that sometimes you can get interviews with high-powered people. The best example, I was lucky enough to get two interviews with Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign. You can get those interviews when people see you as an honest broker, someone who’s going to give someone a very fair trial — it’s easier to get those interviews than if you write from a completely activist standpoint.
Over time, it’s been more difficult because I thought I was going to come to Washington and be racing mainstream journalists to get to LGBT stories, many of which would be about the progress we were making. I couldn’t have been more wrong, right? And that has forced me to be asking questions in a newsroom or in a briefing room where the guy who is answering the questions really doesn’t want to hear the question I’m asking. I cannot escape the fact that I am now an activist just by virtue of the questions that I’m asking and the constituency that I write for.
This is a topic I’ve blogged about (and my fellow blogger Matthew S. Bajko responded to), so I admit that I’m sensitive to it whenever I see it raised. That said, I found it refreshing to hear directly from Eleveld how she has dealt with the question.
I also couldn’t help but notice how jarring it was for Metro Weekly to use the acronym “GLBT” and how Eleveld kept using the “LGBT” acronym. I’ve blogged about this acronym debate and I still think LGBT wins—I’m glad Eleveld agrees with me!