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Author Topic: What Would You Do? My Local Newspaper Keeps Leading Me On....  (Read 5209 times)

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Offline zephyr

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  • Posts: 457
    • Zephyr L.T.N.P. Foundation, Inc.
To My Forum Family...

Many of you may remember that back in May, I mentioned that I was being 'interviewed' by my local newspaper about Living With HIV for 14 years in this rural community.The interview process developed into three separate visits from the journalist, for a total of 10 hours! We began this process on June 6th, and the 'article' turned into a 'series', each installment amounting to 50 column inches compared to the typical 13 column inches (as indicated to me by the journalist, herself.)

The wonderful thing that happened in the midst of these interviews was this: 1) The journalist, a 24 year old young lady had never met an HIV+ person, ever, and she became completely intriqued with the whole issue, and 2) two other HIV+ women in my community asked to be interviewed, anonymously, for the article, as well, whose circumstances are completely different than mine!

Last week, the managing Editor for the newspaper told me that publication was to be last Thursday. Friends took me out to lunch to celebrate, but alas, no article. Friday came and went, no article that day. And today, nothing.

This morning, I went to the main office in person, and asked to see the Managing Editor. I was told that she was 'against a deadline', and could not come to the front desk. My eye-brows went up for a second, since there is no paper on Tuesday. Hmm.

I've been told that there have been 'space constraints' due to the length of this series. I've been told that murders and deaths take precedence over any other 'news'. I've been warned by a local friend that she believes they do not want to publish such a 'controversial' topic.

The young journalist moved to Georgia on July 11th, hired by a larger, more prominent newspaper, having decided that her job here was a 'dead-end'. She and I became fast friends through this process, and I am proud of her for making such a move for her career. Just months prior to our meeting, she had written a well-received article on HEP C, and spent months working on the research for the HIV article.

I'm wondering, without her in the office on a daily basis anymore, asking about her article, will the newspaper just let it go?

I'm wondering if indeed, what I am experiencing now has everything to do with STIGMA?

Being a patient woman, usually, am I just being over-anxious?

What would you do?

Thanks for reading...any and all input appreciated!!

"It is character that communicates most eloquently."

Offline AlanBama

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Re: What Would You Do? My Local Newspaper Keeps Leading Me On....
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2006, 10:11:48 PM »

It sounds to me like you're getting the 'run around'.   I could be wrong.....

I suppose all you can do is wait and see.    Is it stigma?   Maybe....we are quick to assume that when we are unsure.  Maybe a letter, stating that you did that interview in good faith, and you expect to see it in print in a TIMELY fashion....

Let's see if anyone else has any suggestions for you.

Good luck, sweetie.

Love you,
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline cflas

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Re: What Would You Do? My Local Newspaper Keeps Leading Me On....
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2006, 10:19:24 PM »
Dear Zephyr:  I did some writing for a newspaper years ago and I think there are a couple of ways to handle this:  1) if you think you've exhausted the options with the managing editor then give up. You could try to make an appointment with that person and see if the are willing to meet with you, I mean all you are really asking about is whether they are going to proceed with the piece or not. So, if they are, see if you can pin them down for a publication date. If not, then proceed to 2) contact the author of the original piece and see if she's willing to do it for the larger paper and go with the angle of "what it's like to be HIV+ in rural Amerika" for a larger circulation.  OR 3) (and I really like this one):  you are articulate, bright, and determined.  Would you consider writing the story yourself and either contributing it to the larger paper or to another publication (ie magazine)?  Sometimes, a first-person angle is better received.

I really wish you so much luck and love in this endeavor.  You are extraordinarily brave! Therefore, love, chris

Offline Eldon

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Re: What Would You Do? My Local Newspaper Keeps Leading Me On....
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2006, 10:27:10 PM »
Zephie, it's Eldon. I would wait and see what the managing editor has to say. They have your contact info right? If so, I'd wait til the end of this month and then go down there again and get some answers. Sounds like they put it on the backburner so to speak. But, that is also a speculation.

Keep us posted and let us know how it turns out. Good Luck!


Offline JR Gabbard

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Re: What Would You Do? My Local Newspaper Keeps Leading Me On....
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2006, 10:56:31 PM »

Dear Zephyr,

   I hate to be the downer, but I doubt that article will ever be published by that paper.  In my experience, newspapers produce more "feature" content than they actually publish.  They are super sweet when they want the interview, and then afterwards you cease to exist, unless they want a follow up.  The young lady who took the interview no longer works there, and the editor is blowing you off.  Strike one, strike two ....

   I don't think it is stigma, though, and it is certainly not because it is a conterversial topic.  Newspapers love controversy because it sells papers.  Small town rags doubly so, especially if it will fuel the local rumor mills.

   But your story should be told.  Have you thought about the Sac Bee?  The local paper in South Lake Tahoe?What about a Bay Area free paper like the Bay Guardian?  They would probably dig the "Look what you have to do to survive HIV in the boonies" angle.

Hang in there, girl!


ps  Hope I got the location right.  Somehow, I have you placed somewhere near Strawberry.  Is that right?  J
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth,
The minor fall, the major lift,
The baffled king composing Hallelujah!

L. Cohen

Offline Jeffreyj

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Re: What Would You Do? My Local Newspaper Keeps Leading Me On....
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2006, 11:44:00 PM »
Hi Zeph...Sometimes even weekly papers have deadlines several days out from publication. So the managing editor may very well have been on deadline. I personally would call her back, and make an appointment with her and talk to her face to face and ask her what's going on.
I can relate to your frustration. The AZ Republic came to my place and took pics, after I did an hour long interview over the phone. I was told it would run on Tuesday. Well it never ran. But she called me 18 months later, apologized to me since the article never ran. She said we now have new editors and they would like to do another interview. We met at Starbucks for an hour, and two days later I was on Page ONE!
So They must have some interest. If you really want it to happen, get on the good side of the Managing editor, and be persistant. With your charm a story, I would think, would be a SLAM DUNK.
I hope it all works out for you babe! I personally believe every story that runs helps put a face on HIV/AIDS. I commend you for your bravery! Good Luck!
Lots of Love,
Positive since 1985

Offline aztecan

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  • 32 years positive, 60 years a pain in the butt
Re: What Would You Do? My Local Newspaper Keeps Leading Me On....
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2006, 11:48:38 PM »
Hey Zeph,
Hope you don't mind an old newshound chiming in. I would give the managing editor the benefit of the doubt for the time being.

It sounds like the paper only publishes five days a week? If so, then their space is probably dictated even more so by ad content. There has to be a certain percentage of advertisements in the paper to pay for its publication.

Given that your series is lenthy (50+ inches is a tome by newspaper standards) the editor either has the choice of waiting until there is space or cutting the story down to fit the space. Were it me, I would prefer to wait and get the whole story rather than cutting it just to get it in sooner.

Also keep in mind breaking news will always take precedence over feature stories. That's just the nature of the business. Your story will still be fresh and poignant if its held while breaking news gets stale fast - especially since papers are competing with electronic media.

Now, that said, if, after a while, you decide you want to know what they are going to do, I would first set up an appointment with the managing editor. Justs walking into a newsroom to talk to someone is very hit and miss. It might work, but you might be told he/she is not available.

If you still don't get satisfaction after speaking with the editor, then use an old reporter's trick - go to his/her boss. Make an appointment with the publisher.

But first give the editor the benefit of the doubt. I doubt he/she would have allowed the reporter to do the interview - especially as lengthy as it was - and then spend the time writing the story, then having it go through the editing process, if he didn't have good intentions of running it.

There are no guarantees, but, when I was in his shoes, I know a story like yours was a definite draw because it would start tongues wagging and papers selling.

Let me know what happens, OK?


"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline joemutt

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Re: What Would You Do? My Local Newspaper Keeps Leading Me On....
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2006, 11:59:07 PM »
Yeah go to the Managing Editor to talk and keep your cool. ;)

Offline aztecan

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  • Posts: 5,517
  • 32 years positive, 60 years a pain in the butt
Re: What Would You Do? My Local Newspaper Keeps Leading Me On....
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2006, 12:00:36 AM »
Oh shoot, I meant to hit the edit button.

Anyway, Jeff had some very good points too. You have an irresistable charm and editors, hard nosed as they can be at times, respond better to charm and civil concern than they do to testy or irate.

Its just human nature.

Something else I just remembered from your initial post. You said it is a series of stories? That can take a while to put into print, just because once you start a series, you have to run it all. You can't just stop at part 1 or 2 when you have advertised a "three-part series," which papers do to entice people to keep buying their wares.

Just sayin ....



(who really likes that phrase)

"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline zephyr

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  • Posts: 457
    • Zephyr L.T.N.P. Foundation, Inc.
Re: What Would You Do? My Local Newspaper Keeps Leading Me On....
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2006, 02:02:49 PM »
What good and thoughtful responses you've provided me this day!

A small part of my frustration has to do with making the 'disclosure decison' and then having to live in a kind of forced 'pause mode'--not unlike a TIVO experience, only in real life! :-[

The larger frustration, really, comes from knowing there ae many HIV+ people who reside in this county feeling they are the only ones. It has been speculated recently that there are 170 PLWHA's in these foothills, and, due to fear of reprisal, seek services 'down the hill' in Sacramento where anonymity is a sure bet. Theirs are the voices I do not hear, but have a strong sense of, that prompt my advocacy and concern.

I will continue to be patient and understand this issue is out of my control. There are larger powers at work here, and in that, I will continue to trust.

By the way, I got a chuckle out of my horoscope today: "Your impatience will finally be satisfied now. Things will be getting started!"

Very interesting, indeed.

I appreciate each and everyone's input on this. I will keep you posted as events unfold.

With much love,

Zephie :-*
"It is character that communicates most eloquently."

Offline Moffie65

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  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: What Would You Do? My Local Newspaper Keeps Leading Me On....
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2006, 03:10:55 PM »

Just like our phone conversation, Mark has reminded us that this is truly a business first and foremost, and for someone, the sales pay the payroll.  It will happen, but in the meantime, the universe is forcing one very driven woman to learn patience.  Not an easy lesson to learn. 

In Love.
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline Denver Toad

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  • Posts: 169
Re: What Would You Do? My Local Newspaper Keeps Leading Me On....
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2006, 05:05:12 PM »

Repeat after me…

Deity of my choice, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The power to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Repeat until it works.
I wouldn’t sweat that which you cannot control. Rather look at this as another step in the journey of life. Had you not taken the step, had you not faced the fear, you wouldn’t know what lies over the horizon. You wouldn’t have grown from within, and you wouldn’t have made a new friend. Yeah it would be cool if they’d publish the article, but that’s out of your control.  Keep on chugging, there’s plenty life more ahead for ya.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly,
Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile.

Offline Oceanbeach

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Re: What Would You Do? My Local Newspaper Keeps Leading Me On....
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2006, 01:45:55 AM »
Hi Zephie,

I wrote a rather lengthly post yesterday as a reply regarding most newspapers being a print shop with a product and being dependent upon ad sales to cover the costs of pay roll, paper, supplies, etc.  When I hit POST to the thread, it disapeared.   The fault of my ISP and their inability to find their own server.

The only way to get their attention is to keep going in, calling every day and trying to make appointments with the managing editor.  Have the best day



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