Media panel discusses news
coverage of gay rights issuesm
The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 12, 1997 - 7
By Lee Palmer
Daily Staff Reporter
l Following major media events that
ave included the coming out of sitcom.
star Ellen DeGeneres, eight members of
the local print and television media
gathered at the University Law School
last night for an open panel titled
"Media Coverage of Gay Issues."
The forum, which addressed issues
ranging from the role of the gay press in
today's increasingly gay-friendly cli-
mate to the accuracy of the media's por-
£yal of gay and lesbian life, drew
dout 50 University students and com-
One goal of the panel was to show gay,
lesbian and transgender University stu-
dents that there is "life outside the
University and there are people who sup-
port them," said Ken Blochowski, associ-
ate dean of students for multiculturalism
and head of the University's Lesbian Gay
Bisexual Transgender Affairs Office.
Steve Culver, editor of OutPost, a
Metro Detroit-based gay, lesbian and
bisexual community newspaper, said
the mainstream media has progressed in
the past few years in its coverage of gay
and lesbian issues, but that the role of
the gay press always will be distinctive.
"We can cover gay and lesbian issues
in a more detailed way than the main-
stream press ever could, because their
focus is not identical to ours," Culver
One panelist who represented a main-
stream newspaper was David Lyman, a
writer for the Detroit Free Press.
"Portrayal of gays and lesbians in the
media range from dismal and ignorant to
sometimes fairly astute," Lyman said.
"It's far from perfect, but it's so immense-
ly improved it makes me feel positive,"
he said, expressing the general sense of
optimism of the panel regarding the
efforts the media has made to better cover
the gay and lesbian community.
Rodney Brenneman, senior news
director for Channel 2 in Detroit,
added that the media's present chal-
lenge is to include more positive
images of gays and lesbians in main-
stream news stories.
Speaking as a member of the homo-
sexual community, and as editor of the
gay :nd lesbian publication Between
the Lines, Jan Stevenson said the chal-
lenge of gays and lesbians is "being
able to be in the media and have posi-
Music sophomore Luke Klipp said
the local media is pretty fair in its cov-
erage, but that often the national media
uses gays and lesbians as a way to sen-
sationalize their stories.
David Lyman of the Detroit Free Press, Steve Culver of OutPost and Jan Stevenson
of Between the Lines were part of the panel discussing coverage of gay issues.
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"The news seems to use gays and les-
bians to make issues sometimes out of
things that are nothing," Klipp said.
The panel was sponsored by
LGBTA; OUTLaw, a group of gay. les-
Continued from Page i
"The rule of thumb for marketing is
that it takes seven times of saying
something before it starts to register,"
said ITD Marketing Services Manager
Many students say they are already
accustomed to such alterations.
"There have been so many area code
changes where I live. I really think it's
no big deal," said LSA first-year stu-
dent Heonia Hillock. "They've done it
before, and they'll do it again."
The increasing need for phone lines
is due largely to wider use of both cel-
lular phones and faxes.
Why not just give those lines special
area codes and leave homeowners' area
codes the same? The Federal
Communications Commission has pre-
viously ruled that it would be unfair to
cellular phone companies and cus-
tomers to force only them to have dif-
ferent area codes, Roehr said.
The cost of area code changes has
decreased as people have gotten used to
the frequent substitutions. Maria
Continued from Page 1
Spencer said. "We've got people
researching that. What I do know is
that we look at scores, but we also
look at other factors heavily, such as
GPA, high school curriculum, tran-
scripts and the quality of the school
"We don't bring people into the
University who we think can't succeed.
We're confident that every student who
bian and transgender law students; the
Motor City Business Forum, an organi-
zation that promotes and supports gays
in the business community; and the
Washtenaw Rainbow Action Project.
Simonte, director of marketing for the
University's Alumni Association, said
that informing the 150,000 alumni
spread out across the globe is "a little
bit of a pain."
"We're going to do the best to get the
word out about the new area code,"
Simonte said. "I think that it's all under
control. I think that now people are
familiar with it."
When telecommunications companies
first began adding new area codes, many
businesses were caught unaware and
found it expensive to update all their sta-
tionery and other office supplies with the
modified phone numbers. However, as
businesses became more familiar with
area code changes increase, they began
to anticipate the costs.
The University's schools and depart-
ments should have no problems using
up their stock of old stationery. "It
shouldn't pose a great hardship for
most departments on campus," said
Director of News and Information
Services Julie Peterson.
An ITD fact sheet about the new area
code is available online at
wwwi ld.edu/itd/nresskit/c tsheethtml.
comes to the University will be suc-
cessful' he said.
Spencer said that although standard-
ized test scores are considered, individ-
ual concern is given to each applica-
tion, making sure that the incoming
class is the best possible.
"We're probably the only public uni-
versity that still re-calculates grade
point average, has counselors individu-
ally look over each application and
make an individual decision about each
admit," Spencer said.
By Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud
Daily Staff Reporter
Concerned University students col-
lected signatures on the Diag yester-
day, in hopes of shutting down the
U.S. Army School of the Americas.
The institution, which is based in Fort
Benning, Ga., has been dubbed by
critics the "School of Assassins."
Established in 1946 in Panama and
later moved to Georgia, the school set
out to train Latin American recruits
in the practice of war. Funded by the
American government, the organiza-
tion has the proclaimed goal of pro-
tecting Latin American countries
Instead, critics say, graduates of the
school have become dictators and
have oppressed the population of
their countries, using tactics learned
at the School of the Americas.
"Basically, $20 million of tax dol-
lars are spent funding this school,"
said LSA sophomore Pam Jakiela,
who organized the effort yesterday.
"We want to make people aware of
that so they know what their tax
money goes to."
The signature drive was supported
by a coalition of the Interfaith
Council, Amnesty International and
the Overseas Development Network.
The Interfaith Council had already
collected 650 signatures, and orga-
nizers wanted another 350.
This weekend, students and other
activists will protest in front of the
Georgia school. Each group attend-
ing the rally was asked to bring 1,000
"A refutation of the idea that the
people trained at the School of the
Americas help promote democracy is
that of the 10 graduates who've
become heads of state, none of them
have been democratically elected,"
The effort of the students yesterday
also commemorated the killing of six
Jesuit priests and two women in El
Salvador eight years ago. Of the 26
army officers cited as responsible for
the murders, 19 had been trained at
the School of the Americas. Students
dressed in black laid on the Diag to
memorialize the killings.
"'The big problem arises in that
they teach counter-insurgency tech-
niques and psychological and physi-
cal torture," said SNRE senior Mike
Mann. "They're using what they've
learned to keep down social activists,
union organizers and church person-
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