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The Advocate publishes the first 4.5 inches of an obituary for free. If you want to publish a longer version or have the obituary appear more than once, we do charge a fee. The guidelines appear daily on Page B2. Paid obituaries receive a free online guest book for 30 days. You may find that by clicking on obituaries in the top navigation bar of our Web site.
Most U.S. newspapers charge for obituaries in some way or another. Many don't print any part of an obituary for free. This American Journalism Review article from 1999 explores the shift in how newspapers have handled obituaries.
As an editor, I'm not particularly fond of charging for these important notices, but I have to agree with the section of the article about the number of struggles we had with family members and funeral homes when we published free obituaries and forced them to comply with news guidelines. When they pay for obituaries, family members are free to write them as they like because they're no longer considered news articles. We do, of course, still write some news obituaries about prominent people.
I'd hate for cost to ever prevent someone from publishing something as important as an obituary in the newspaper. I hope our policy works for most readers. Thanks for asking.
Mary Ann - i respect your feedback, and actually can see now from your point of view about your replies being just that; not necessarily getting the last word in. I think I was wrong about that. When you are engaged in discussion, you are always articulate, responsive, and, yes, as Toni Anne says, passionate. THOSE are the kind of people I like. I didn't and don't want to seem harsh, ever, toward any other blogger. I do realize you are passionate about this subject, as am I. What a wonderful country we live in that we may have open, intelligent debate about such subjects!I want to say that all responses on this thread have been interesting and enlightening. And, Mary Ann, if you care to respond, even if you get the last word, I won't be offended, I promise! We can indeed agree to disagree, for I have a feeling that we have much more common ground than not. I think this sentence by you sums up what we both feel the best (pardon the plagiarism; it is done with all credit given to you): I can separate the actions of a person from the person, and still love the individual.
SO... I was going to leave this alone - but I really want to add something that was bugging me...1. The VicAd charges you MONEY to post an obit? Seriously? That is such a travesty... If I would have had to deal with much more than I did when my dad passed away - I would have cracked. I cannot believe that Advocate would try to get their share of the "death business." I would like to see a story on why money from dead people's families is needed so much. Have a bake sale... goodness.2. Little Blue Book - you crack me up.... :)3. I respect both Mary Ann and Sugar Magnolia. I read you both often and I wanted to say something about your comments. I didn't see "hate" in Mary Ann's comments, only her passion for what she believes in. I have an intense passion for the things I believe in as well, so I can sort of see both sides. On the other hand - I can see where someone who is gay or supports the gay lifestyle would be offended with the things that Mary Ann said. I think that the best advice was from Little Blue Book. If you see something in the headline or first few words that you don't like - click away.You can only have a debate or argument if you continue to engage the other person. I can post all day long about how I feel about certain issues - but it only becomes an argument when someone wants to try and change my mind. I am thankful that these forums allow people to post their opinions. Let's remember that even though we may not like what we hear, we have to allow each other the space to voice what we believe in. Again, as LBB said: we aren't going to change anyone's viewpoints by posting on a forum. 4. As for THE article: I don't know if it should have been front page and the reason I say that is that I am fairly positive that when the Advocate printed that particular article there - they knew the kind of reaction it would bring. I feel that you used the GLBT community to make a little more publicity/press for yourself. But that is my opinion. 5. I thought this kind of ironic and couldnt pass up posting it but how many of you are aware that The Advocate is a gay magazine? (silent lol moment for myself
)Lastly - God loves all of his children. Nuf said.
Oh, Little Blue Book, I forgot to add that I like your proposed poll question. I agree few, if any, would change their core beliefs based on the discussion here. I hope we're all a little bit smarter for the conversation, though. I know I learn a lot every day from our readers. Collectively, all of you know much more about what you want to see in the newspaper than I do.
I agree completely with your comment about attempting to be comprehensive and proportional in our news coverage. That's a huge and important challenge for any newspaper.
In terms of reporting on this particular event, is it relevant to point out that gay men having unprotected sex are at much higher risk for contracting AIDS? When I do a Google search on "AIDS epidemic in gay men," I get 266,000 hits. When I do a Google news search for recent coverage only, I get 96 options.
Perhaps you'd say any mention of homosexuality anywhere should again include this information that's been repeatedly reported during the past two or three decades, and that's certainly your right to think so. I'd say the reporting of a first-ever event in the Crossroads region is a different issue.
Little Blue Book, I'd agree with your point, if this were not the first event here. If this event had been staged for the past two decades, it certainly would be less newsworthy.
In terms of Schroeder Hall, it receives some level of more attention than the typical business because it is the second-oldest dance hall in Texas. This is sort of the flip side of the newsworthiness of a first-ever event. However, we do cover report on many businesses and devote a page daily and a section on Sundays to this important topic.
I hope that helps explain our thinking on these various points.
SM,I do like to reply to people who ask questions, make comments (positive or negative) using my name, or even insult me. I don't think that's always wanting to get the last word in, though I can see your point. I have ended quite a few discussions with reasonable people saying that we can agree to disagree.I believe homosexuals are exceptionally loveable- and I say that sincerely. I have often asked myself (as one poster asked me) what I would do if one of my children would be homosexual. I would have unconditional love for the child, and I would always be trying to understand and help. That doesn't mean I condone homosexual acts. I can separate the actions of a person from the person and still love the individual.I think our last two posts have been quite civil. I can agree to disagree civilly, AND you can have the last word! (said with a smile and meant truly)
Mary Ann, I did not come to this blog to do battle with you, either. You always seem to have to get the last word in though, even when others' comments have as much merit. Do not lecture me on what love is. I am not naive nor stupid. I don't love some of your viewpoints, but I love the fact that you as a parent are doing what you as a parent think best for your children. I believe the world would be a better place if more people took their parenting responsibilites as seriously.Similarly, I may not love a person's actions, be they homosexual or otherwise, but that does not mean the person is not lovable or not worthy of being loved. A person's sexuality is such a small part of who they are and what they do; I look at so much more than that when I look at someone. If you cannot see beyond that, I am indeed sorry.I am doing my best to keep this discussion civil. I believe we have both made our respective points.
SM, I won't trade insults or personal attacks with you.But please don't try to silence me because I make you uncomfortable. If you go for the "sex sells" headline, that's your option.Male-on-male sex is going to be a controversial topic, especially when our government has stated: "Men who have had sex with men since 1977 have an HIV prevalence (the total number of cases of a disease that are present in a population at a specific point in time) 60 times higher than the general population, 800 times higher than first time blood donors and 8000 times higher than repeat blood donors (American Red Cross)."These aren't my words. Why do you want to silence a message that could help to save lives?You mentioned "true love" ealier. SM true love isn't conveniently forgeting health information and turning a blind eye to potentially destructive behavior. That's false compassion.
Mary Ann - with all due respect, Ma'am, I must say: How embarrassing for you, making such a spectacle of yourself. True ladies know better than to stoop so low. FDA guidelines for blood donation have absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand. I defended your right to speak and your right to your viewpoints with my very first post, but my goodness, enough is enough! If you wish to expand on the FDA guidelines and preach more morality, you have your own blog space to do so, and believe it or not, I would read it, as I read most comments and posts you make.Also, I have read and reread Scorpio's post, and cannot for the life of me see any hatred evidenced therein, even if I wanted to. The only posts filled with hate appear to be yours.
Hello Chris,Further in the article to which you gave the link, the definition of journalism is expanded:Journalism's first obligation is to the truth. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional. While it is true that the homosexuals are having a "pride" celebration, I have never seen coverage of any facts that male-on-male sex is dangerous to one's health. Perhaps I missed it. But is so harmful that government entities are in the business of making sure that no blood donated from this at-risk population gets into the blood supply. Do you think that this information is not odd enough or controversial enough? It certainly would be comprehensive and proportional. I can't revel in the fact that our passion and hit-numbers to your site seems to boost ratings at the expense of only part of the truth.
Thanks, everyone, for all of the comments. Your passionate opinions provide further evidence the story was worthy of the front page. Yes, the textbook definition of news includes controversy and oddity. By this measure, the first gay-pride event in the region certainly measures up. Your comments and reaction back this up more than anything I could say.
We have a story in the paper and a video online today about a tribute to fallen officers. No one has commented on it, and you might not score the topic high on controversy or oddity. Nonetheless, we featured it prominently because of the topic's impact.
I take to heart the comments about other stories we could cover better. Our challenge is to reflect the entire community, covering the good and the bad, the glad and the sad. While we will always write about the controversial stories, we also will celebrate with our community. In that vein, I commend to everyone Roni Gendler's beautiful photo of an Iraqi soldier and his newborn child on Wednesday's front page.
We're only as good as today's edition. If you want to see a certain story covered more, please contact us. We're a better newspaper when you're involved.
To answer Little Blue Book's specific question about our entertainment listings, including Schroeder Hall, we've emphasized publishing calendar items during the past year, which is why we created our A3 page and our online calendar. We want to let people know about the various things they can go and do. This news you can use always scores high on readership surveys.
If I missed responding to any other specific questions, let me know. I'll check back. Let's keep the conversation going.
Thank you, CF! :)Many blessings to you and your family who understand what true love is all about.
LBB, I agree with you, and Mr. Cobler's blog verifies your point: the Advocate is looking for "oddity" and "controversial" among other items to qualify for the front page headline. Those are his words, not mine.
Scorpio, your post conveys hate much more than mine do. In fact, you assumed that I could hate a child of mine. You also suggest that I use the Bible to bash gays, when I didn't even bring up the Bible or God. You have a lot of misplaced anger. How sad when you don't know me at all. If I had a child that was homosexual, I would love that child, and love him or her more and more. If the government facts about male on male sex and the banning of accepting their blood upsets you, I'm sorry. But please don't accuse people of hate just because they disagree with you.Loving someone doesn't mean condoning harmful behavior or turning a blind eye.It would be great if those supporting gays could do so in a calm manner without resorting to bashing Christians- and especially bashing someone who quotes the FDA as a bible quoter when that didn't happen. Are there Christians out there bashing gays- sure. Save your anger for them instead of someone disagreeing with a lifestyle that the government evidences as unsafe.
I'm not surprised this article received more attention than the flag draped coffin of the local soldier who was recently killed in Iraq. Makes me kind of wonder where people's priorities are.
I am always amazed at people like the man from Yoakum who was concerned that people are losing their rights but doesn't think an event like the gay pride day events should be endorsed by a conservative community. A conservative community should endorse the fact that people from all walks of life are celebrating their lives, lifestyles and citizenship. To my way of thinking, bringing the whole community together and celebrate their rights under the Constitution should be a very conservative thing to do. There is nothing radical in exercising freedom of speech and the right to assemble. To all you who will say that this celebration shouldn't be allowed because God says homosexual practices are an abomination, I would remind you that activities in THIS nation must pass muster under the Constitution, NOT the Bible.
Sugar Magnolia's comment is the most eloquent, thoughtful, intelligent, and well-written one thus far on this issue. I was going to type something along those same lines, but how do you improve on perfection? :-) I just wish I could be down at Magnolia Beach this weekend to support the Crossroads GLBT community.
Oh, and just a side note: my brother, who is gay, and I come from an extremely close-knit family; my 10-year-old and 2-year-old sons both adore their uncle. My brother prefers long-term, committed relationships (as most of the general population does, of course); his boyfriend is considered family to us. When they hold hands or give each other a kiss, it's treated no differently then if my husband and I do it. In fact, they are taking my 10-year-old to see Iron Man tonight for his birthday. In other words, my sons have been "exposed" to gay relationships for many years now, and trust me when I assure that they are no worse for wear, LOL. I know that every family is different, and the heartbreaking truth is that some gay men and women can't even come out of the closet for fear of disownment and rejection from their own family. Knowing this solidifies my comfort in seeing that my own sons are growing up with open minds and open hearts.
Losthighway,I don't feel the need to further expose my chidren to examples of unnatural homoseuxal sex right now. Let's just say they're young. They know that some men like men, etc. because I told them. When they get older I will tell them more about the unnaturalness and the health problems of homosexual sex, because, you're right, I don't want to shield them from the difficult issues of the world. For example, men who have had homosexual sex with other men are banned since 1977 from donating blood because of the risk of AIDS/HIV, Hepatitus B, and "other infections." Male homosexual sex is not safe, at least according to policies of the FDA when collecting blood.From the FDA report: "Men who have had sex with men since 1977 have an HIV prevalence (the total number of cases of a disease that are present in a population at a specific point in time) 60 times higher than the general population, 800 times higher than first time blood donors and 8000 times higher than repeat blood donors (American Red Cross). Even taking into account that 75% of HIV infected men who have sex with men already know they are HIV positive and would be unlikely to donate blood, the HIV prevalence in potential donors with history of male sex with males is 200 times higher than first time blood donors and 2000 times higher than repeat blood donors." This is a governent policy that I do want my children to know about at the appropriate time, as it is part of the real world. You can read about the FDA policy here: http://www.fda.gov/Cber/faq/msmdonor.htm
Ernie,My older kids have been informed about this "segment of the population" by me long before the Advocate splashed it on the front page. I tend to be pro-active, rather than reactive on social issues with my children. They do know what's out there, and at an age appropriate time. I'd much rather explain things myself before the get the back-alley information. You're right, we don't have to agree with any particular lifestyle.
I find it amusing that in a world full of war, hatred, and death, some feel the things we need to shield children from are people who like the same sex. How hard can it be to tell a child "Some boys like boys and some girls like girls" as opposed to "Well, many people died a few years ago and now we sent soldiers over to this place and some of them are now dying..." etc. Get my point? It's rather appalling that some would consider this fact of life a bigger dilemma to discuss with a child than the prospect of violent death and the cruel ways of man.
If they can run a homicide article on the front page, where is the logic in burying an article about a gay pride event? I see no sense in this. Is being gay a worse thing for a child to grasp than the idea that some people violently MURDER other people for stupid reasons, or that you can get hit by a car on the side of the highway at night and the driver won't even bother to stop? Do you also hide the paper when these stories are on the front page? Use some common sense, people. If you can let your children read about these atrocities yet hide the paper when there's a gay pride article, I regret to say your logic is pretty far gone. Yes, homosexuality is now worse than death! Oh, dear...
Chris,you can't make everyone happy..It's always going to be one thing or another when it comes to what and where an article should be placed in the advocate......If a front page article doesn't interest someone then they should just move on to another story because there are one's whom appreciate the articles that are put on the front page and some have been deeply affected by them.....Thank You VA for keeping us informed and my best advice to the one's that are complaining over little stuff,move on to another paper if you don't like this one..........Gzzz
Chris: I was much more offended by the rehashing of the illegals death on US59/77, than I am by the announcement of any current event. I call it a lack of taste to cover 5 year old news, obviously your paper and other feel differently. Like your subcriber in Yoakum, I have considered canceling my subscription over the series, not the "gay" headline. Of course, as several old, wise newspaper/publisher have told me "articles just hold the ads together".VBB: Interesting thought. Perhaps a back story would have been more apporpriate for the "gay pride" event. Chris, please report on the attendance (or I suspect lack there of) with equal weight.
Just something that struck me as funny....you state that when you place an article on the front page you are not advocating it. But in a sense you are as the name of the paper is the Advocate. Sorry had to pass that on.
Wasn't going to comment on this article, either here or on the thread that's developed (raging?) as a result of the article but.... Well, I like to hear myself rattle I reckon. :-)The article met the criteria for news, IMO. Front page or not... [shrug]... but it is news. But what got me going is MaryAnn's comment. Don't know what age her kids are therefore will defer to her parental judgement on the issue. At some point though, MaryAnn, your kids will need to become aware of this segment of the population that dwells among us. We don't have to agree with any given scenario or lifestyle but just as with the atrocities of war (which are also distasteful to many) being depicted on the TV screen - or the front page - better our kids receive an explanation from caring parents than to have such issues explained to them on any street corner or back room by someone who, as often or not, has an agenda to push.Besides, it sure got the natives stirred up.... again. Talk about beating a dead horse (it beats trying to milk one, dead OR alive.)....Ernie
Chris - you know that sometimes I can be a critic of the Advocate, because I know that in every case I feel I must speak up and voice my displeasure; the roots of this lie in my love for this area and, yes, for the Advocate. I sometimes criticize simply because I KNOW yall can do better, and I hold the VicAd to a high standard. In this case, the VicAd did the right thing by announcing the gay-pride event. You have made me proud, and I appreciate that others might be offended by it. I understand their position, and am glad Mary Ann voiced her opinion, as did the gentleman from Yoakum. Maybe you can take heart in that lost subscription by the one I have recently begun, thanks to your and Hamp's help. Like it or not, there ARE gay, bisexual, and transgender people among us, even right here in our neck of the woods. I grew up in Houston, where events like this are just part of normal life, and it is no big deal. It's not for everybody, and those who oppose it are free to voice their opposition and even protest peacefully. I have seen both sides of the issue, and am so glad to be an American where we all have a voice. I think it was totally appropriate for the VicAd to do a small write-up on this event that involves some of its citizens. It is a step toward enlightenment for this community, I hope. I do forget that so many things that were part of everyday life in a large urban area, things I grew up around and was exposed to and always took for granted to be part of EVERYBODY'S life, are not necessarily so in a smaller community. I learned that lesson when I moved down here. It was an adjustment for sure, and not necessarily a bad thing. There are many things I love about this area, or else I would not stay. Having said that, I believe you are taking bold and necessary steps with this inclusion in the paper. After all, agree or not, they are part of this community as much as you or I. Thank you, VicAd, for being progressive and inclusionary.
I was disappointed that the Advocate chose to put this story as a main headline. Homosexual acts are offensive to many, and I'm not surprised that someone from Yoakum cancelled the subscription. I haven't left the paper around today for the kids to glance at the front page, and they will not find it either. IMO, homosexual sex doesn't need to be explained to a kid because he saw it on the front page of the "hometown" newspaper. There will be another time to discuss this, but the discussion won't be generated by this newsource which in my opinion, is practicing in-your-face tactics with this headline.I think that's part of the intention, and as a reader, I don't appreciate it.I realize that opinions differ on this issue. I'm glad that I can voice mine here.