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American Television, News  
 
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Perhaps the most important harbinger of change was the growth of niche broadcasting, especially the development of television that caters particularly to glbtq audiences. For example, Q Television Network, which launched in 2005, offered original programming that included queer perspectives on news and culture. LOGO, a channel of MTV that launched in 2005, also offered a range of original series, documentaries, and specials, and teamed up with CBS News to cover glbtq news stories in a "professional and authentic voice."

One of the pioneers in producing news shows aimed at glbtq audiences was QTV Newsmagazine, which debuted in 1995 as a local San Francisco public accessoffering. QTV Newsmagazine soon move to Comcast cable channels and also became available via the Internet. Hosted by Executive Producer Rahn Fudge, the newsmagazine offered programs that originated both in San Francisco and in Key West, Florida.

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Recent Developments

In recent years, especially since the advent of the 2008 Presidential campaign, mainstream coverage of glbtq topics and issues has vastly improved.

More and more, television news shows, both national and local ones, present news about homosexuality straightforwardly and with an understanding that such news is of interest to an increasingly wide and general audience.

This improvement is related to the fact that glbtq issues have themselves become increasingly mainstream and part of a national dialogue. For example, the quest for marriage equality and the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell could hardly be ignored. Moreover, increasing acceptance and support for glbtq causes have also propelled fairer and more sympathetic coverage of glbtq people and issues.

As the political struggle for gay rights has intensified, more and more gay people have come out and demanded that they be portrayed fairly in the media. Their efforts have been supported not simply by the traditional media watchdog, GLAAD, but also by other organizations that monitor the depiction of glbtq issues, especially the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, which works within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of glbtq news, and Equality Matters, a group that monitors the depiction of gay issues in the news and corrects anti-gay misinformation.

In addition, the proliferation of gay political blogs has also contributed to increased and fair coverage of gay issues on television news. Because so many glbtq political blogs are linked to each other, the gay blogosphere has become an echoing chamber in which blogs have the potential to reach large audiences and sometimes to make local stories into national ones that cannot be ignored by the mainstream media.

A story posted on one blog often goes "viral" when it is picked up by other blogs and reposted on still more until the mainstream media is forced to give it attention, often by linking it to a larger glbtq issue such as employment discrimination or bullying of gay youth.

Moreover, the mainstream media, especially the 24-hour national news channels, have come to mirror more clearly the country's ideological divisions, with "forward leaning" MSNBC regarded as liberal, CNN as moderate, and Fox News as conservative.

One effect of this development, in which a particular news channel deliberately appeals to a particular ideological demographic, is that advocacy of glbtq rights has become routine (or, to use the favorite word of homophobes, normalized) at least on liberal and moderate channels. And even on a conservative channel like Fox News, gay issues cannot be avoided, even if they are typically presented negatively and unfairly.

Finally, the recent proliferation of openly gay or lesbian television journalists is both reflective of a new level of acceptance of homosexuality in television news and a source of greater knowledge and increased sensitivity as to how glbtq people and issues are presented.

Openly Gay and Lesbian Television Journalists

Among the handful of openly gay national television news anchors, commentators, and reporters are Thomas Roberts (MSNBC), Don Lemon (CNN), Rachel Maddow (MSNBC), Jason Bellini (CBS), Jonathan Capehart (MSNBC), John Yang (NBC), Jeffrey Kofman (ABC), Miguel Marquez (ABC), Manuel Gallegus (CBS), Steve Kmetko (E!), Josh Barro (Bloomberg Television and MSNBC), Richard Rodriguez (PBS), Jane Velez-Mitchell (CNN), Dan Kloeffler (ABC), Steve Kornacki (MSNBC),Jenna Wolfe (NBC), Stephanie Gosk (NBC), Anderson Cooper (CNN), and Robin Roberts (ABC), to say nothing of Pete Williams (NBC), who was outed in 1991 by Michelangelo Signorile, when Williams was a Pentagon spokesman charged with defending the ban on gays in the military.

By virtue of his outing in 1991, Pete Williams (b. 1953) is the senior openly gay national television news journalist, though it is not clear that he has any particular commitment to gay rights. Williams, a native of Wyoming, joined the Washington, D. C. staff of Congressman Dick Cheney in 1986 and followed him to the Pentagon when Cheney became Assistant Secretary of Defense in 1989. He joined NBC News in 1993, where he covers the Justice Department and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Jeffrey Kofman (b. 1959) built a reputation as a correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto. During his 11 years at CBC, he hosted an award-winning weekly current affairs program, anchored the CBC's Toronto newscast, and contributed to the CBC's nightly network newscast, The National. He won several major Canadian journalism awards, including the National Media Human Rights Award for a ground-breaking 1987 CBC documentary on AIDS discrimination.

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