Devin Randall's picture

Why Gay Site Writers Need To Read Before They Write

I’ll probably get in trouble for writing this up, but it needs to be said. Writers on gay news sites need to actually read before reporting or stop lying when they do write up articles.

What incited this thought (today) is that I was going to report on a story I read on another site. Essentially, the story is about a school in England that has an annual worksheet exercise. In this exercise, students in Year 7 (11/12-year-olds) are ordered to rank a list of people from 1-14 and decide who they’d rather be neighbors with.

The list includes minority groups and groups that are often discriminated against such as pregnant teens, vegetarians, people with learning disabilities, and black people.

One mother complained to the school because her daughter felt “singled out and isolated.” The school responded and is now asking that other parents of minority groups reach out and help them re-work the exercise.

All that’s well and good, but why are we talking about it here?

Well, that’s because a few gay news sites are sharing this story and including gay men as a group when the story had absolutely nothing to do with gay people.

I started my day by writing up an article about the “gay and black people neighbors worksheet.”

But as I looked through the information in the primary source, I realized that the word “gay” doesn’t even show up in the original article. I then tried to find out if the actual sheet included “gay men” as one of the 14, and the only reference to it outside of gay news sites was on BBC News.

What this means is that either the sheet does include gay men and BBC somehow found that out. Or (and more likely), the BBC included gay men in the text to get another buzz word in there. Then, gay news sites found the story and shared it as "School Asks Students To Rank Gay and Black People."

Now the biggest offense goes to the original news site. But, all the others sites copying the first one without verifying are also a big problem. Both ultimately created a string of fake news and misinforming.

This is only one incident (that’s been going for the past few days as that’s when this story first reached gay news sites), but it brings up a bigger discussion of writers on sites needing to be more truthful and not changing stories in order to get clicks.

Making cleverly worded titles, sure. But not inserting gay people into stories that has nothing to do with them.

In addition, I understand the need to hustle and share stories quickly (Oh, do I!), but we writers need to take a moment and actually comprehend/double check the stories we’re sharing.

If a news writer isn’t taking the time to realize that the primary source of a story never mentions the word “gay,” then he hasn’t done his job properly.

I don’t want to bag too hard on the writers (too late?) as I know that writers already get a lot of hate online. But, this whole situation was just too sloppy not to point out.

Lastly, keep in mind that these are the thoughts of this one Instinct writer and not of Instinct as a whole (cause I’m sure someone wants to comment that this is a problem with Instinct as well).

I can at least promise that I’ll read every article before sharing information and not straight out lie to my readers. It’s a shame that’s not a promise all writers make.

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Why not take the next step and check the sources?  Oh wait a minute, that's too much like what journalists used to do.

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