In a move that could change the way in which news from grassroots journalists reaches the mainstream media, NEM organizers are supporting the United Equality New Media team as they enlist volunteer bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters to participate in spreading the word about the hopes and dreams of march attendees.
Jay Morris, the committee chairman who produces the blog “JaySays,” is most excited about the live blogging, which will allow iQreporters to stream content live from the weekend’s premier events. The live blogs will utilize some of the latest advances in new media technology and allow the iQreporters to upload videos, photos, audio clips, and real-time blog posts. The one common purpose for all of the iQreports is to document how the failure to lead in issues of LGBT equality on the part of the federal government is impacting peoples lives.
“Perhaps when our federal legislators see how much inequality exists from one coast to the other in this country, the need for equal protection at the federal level will become more evident,” Morris says. Fellow organizer Genia Stevens has similar feelings. “I’m excited to be a part of what I believe is the most aggressive, progressive and diverse gay rights movement of our time,” she writes. Stevens is the producer and host of SistersTalk Radio. Waymon Hudson, who blogs with The Bilerico Project, is also a leader of the team.
Any new media enthusiast with a reasonable amount of blogging experience who wants to try live blogging is asked to apply for consideration by visiting the United Equality New Media registration page. Traditional bloggers may simply choose to follow the Twitter posts of user “iQreport” on their cell phones in order to be in prime locations for a good story. An iQreport is an LGBT derivative of an “iReport.”
The idea of using new media was born out of necessity. Derek Washington, the NEM Director of Diversity Outreach, was struggling with how to reach a representative sampling of march attendees, and in the process was introduced to Mickey Rowe, a certified EEOC investigator. Rowe’s mandate was to “…create inclusion within our community as well as demand it for all LGBT people.” After Rowe and his husband, Lester Leavitt, were introduced to Morris, the idea of the iQreport was born. Leavitt is a third-year student in multi-media journalism who has more than 25 years of experience in business development and marketing.