Gay marriage

Gay Marriage My gay marriage interactive feature has been published on Yahoo! News. When we published, I braced myself for an onslaught of negative email. But to my surprise, I have gotten nothing but positive feedback from readers.

This was a very difficult feature to put together, because it required just the right tone and nuance. My editor, the graphics editor, and I toiled over it, and went back and forth on the content and the details for two weeks.

Some of the trickier aspects of the interactive were how much of the political debate over gay marriage to include in the piece, and to what extent it should be about the lives of the people featured. In the end, we figured out how to tell the stories of four people’s lives with objective distance, matter-of-fact clarity, and still manage to inject empathy and narrative. That was a Herculean task.


5 thoughts on “Gay marriage

  1. Hi, I would’ve loved to see the interactive feature, but all I get is a black screen. Could it be because i’m using a Mac? Tried it on both Safari and Firefox, and still got nothing… 😦

  2. I’m sorry you’re having trouble viewing the interactive. Yahoo has had some compatibility problems with Macs. A lot of videos, for example, don’t work on Macs. But this shouldn’t be the case with a flash interactive.

    The interactive is a big file, and all of it has to download before you can see it. Until it downloads, the page looks all black. I would recommend just giving it a little time to load, it could be slower on some computers than others – and not always because of connection speed. If it keeps not working, try restarting your computer, as this has in the past solved the problem.

    Sorry for the hassle. 😦 We’re constantly trying to figure out ways to make these things more user-friendly.

  3. Hey Nova, thx for your reply. I tried again today and managed to view it (and enjoyed it too)!

    I was in Malaysia at the time, and I suspect it could’ve been due to the botchy wireless connection I was on.

    Thanks again. It is an excellently produced feature 🙂

  4. Hello, Nova!

    I want to first of all say that the design and sound were very well done, and one will find plenty of reason to marvel at your skill as a reporter.

    However, as you acknowledge here as well as in your piece, this is still very much a controversial issue in the eyes of many Americans, and it is just sad that the entertainment and news industry has not seen fit to give an accurate representation of this divide in anything made for public consumption. Thus far, just about all major productions and news outlets have been virtually monolithic in shedding as normalizing and positive a light to same-sex liasons, while portraying advocates of traditional marriage as either non-existent or just plain bigoted.

    Rather than ask anything which may be interpreted as an advocacy for “censorship”, I would like to make a different request altogether.

    In a country where the boundaries of marriage are so quickly dissolving from to celebrity divorces to the imitations of same-sex liasons, may I respectfully request that perhaps your next piece could celebrate the faithfulness and fortitude of older, traditional couples who have withstood the pressures of society to disband their commitments to one another.

    There are many young readers who no doubt express anxiety over the odds of a successful marital union, much less society’s respect for their commitment. I assure you, you will have gained a renewed respect from myself and many others by representing a more enduring side of marriage with similar amount of grace and skill.

    Daniel Cervera

  5. Hi Daniel,

    Thanks for taking the time to watch my work and write! I appreciate it.

    Actually, I had contacted the Mormon Church, which as an organization advocates for a national constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. The church declined my request for an interview so that I could present their side of the story – which is that they think gay marriage would threaten their right to believe what they believe and practice their faith according to their teachings.

    While I could have contacted other churches, doing so would have gone into a back and forth game of this person says this, but that person says that. That kind of reporting, I believe, is actually not only the least interesting and lazily dishonest in its flat attempt at “balance,” but also doesn’t really inform the public of anything.

    If we just repeat the same point and counter-point over and over again, without delving deeper or understanding a story, then we have done a disservice to our audience.

    And while I empathize with your desire that all kinds of relationships and stories be represented fairly in the media, it was appropriate in this case to feature gay couples’ relationships because it is in fact their relationships that are in debate. Therefore, I believe, it is our responsibility as members of the news media to present their stories so that you and others can make good, informed decisions.

    And keep in mind, not many will agree with you that a long-lasting union that can give hope to others is strictly a heterosexual one. There are many gay couples who’ve been together for 50 years or more. With the new opportunities present to them due to recent events, these couples got married in San Francisco and Massachusetts, and formed civil partnerships in Vermont.

    My point is this: there are many different opinions and sides to this story. That reality applies to most stories worth reporting. And responsible journalism isn’t necessarily that which lists these points and opinions one after the other over and over again. That, I argue, is in fact sloppy journalism. Instead, I believe we must delve into stories, and present what we find with distance and empathy. And in this case, what I found were very lovely, loving, kind, responsible and considerate people who felt caught in the middle of a difficult sociopolitical debate.

    Debates such as these have gone on many times before in history. People have disagreed vehemently, politely, violently, and everything in between. But such disagreements are the reason stories like these should be told, not the reason to shy away from them.


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