While the Washington Blade is primarily a text-based news source, it does include a large visual base. A considerable amount of the front page contains photo galleries for stories that would typically be event coverage. To a degree, the photos tell a better story than a written article could. As a publication that has a focus on highly visual and activist-based subject matter, such as Miss Gay D.C. America and Youth Lights for Equality , it is more effective to show the story.
The Washington Blade does find ways to benefit itself through these visual narratives: readers have the option to purchase images in the gallery (although there isn’t much keeping an ordinary viewer from doing a simple copy/paste job). Much like a New York Times paywall, this offers the devoted reader base an opportunity to give back to their choice publication.
There is, too, the option to interact with other readers and the author through the comment section of each post, such as yesterday’s post involving Edie Windsor’s speech in New York. However, readers rarely utilize these section of the posts. This isn’t to imply the writers’ skills are related to the amount of commentary. In fact, readers comment slightly more often on the visual multimedia page .
The real interaction between readers and writers is on the Blade’s Facebook page, which boasts over 16,000 likes. The same interview which gained only three comments on the Blade’s website received over 31 likes on its Facebook .
The relationship between reader interaction and the actual writing pieces may have more to do with the actual readership (instead of the writers themselves), which is ideally young people in the LGBT community. There may be a difference between the readership of social media and the readership of news stories by young people, which causes the great difference in interaction through both media.
Considering that the Washington Blade’s website’s front page features an updated list of night life events and several photos of young advocates, it is safe to assume that the site is typically visited by young adults. The stories are therefore written professionally, but in a relatively easy-to-understand manner that cuts out political jargon. For instance, the Blade’s article today about the president signing the Violence Against Women Act honed in on how it would affect the American LGBT population. Rather than explaining the act’s effects in a few dense concluding paragraphs, the Blade uses bullet points to show exactly how VAWA will affect LGBT Americans.
The Blade finds other short and understandable ways to portray the news that is popular among the younger generation. The publication’s major stories are primarily only written and with the company of a photograph or two. However, it does utilize other multimedia methods to connect LGBT individuals worldwide. Cartoons, art and videos pertaining to LGBT people and their stories can be found under the “multimedia” tab. They are all not well-known news stories–in fact, few of them are. The videos here are not meant to tell news, but to share an experience. One homemade video shows a gay Israeli couple asking to help them have a child while another features a college fraternity asking for help with the payment of a fraternity member’s sex change.
The site also offers links to their Facebook and Twitter, alongside a list of links to other LGBT-friendly websites.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre and other gun-related tragedies, the discussion about gun control exploded among local lawmakers. Among them is Gov. Martin O’Malley, whose gun control bill was passed by Senate today.
The bill, which was passed in a 28-19 vote, could create of the strictest gun laws in the U.S. according to The Baltimore Sun. The bill calls for a limited amount of bullets, increased police authority to audit gun dealers, and the ever-so-controversial background checks which implicitly place people with mental illnesses at a vast disadvantage.
“You can get a gun quicker than you can get an apple or orange in my county,” Sen. Nathaniel McFadden said to The Baltimore Sun. With commentary like this, it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to limit guns to 10 bullets, or to let police do regular checkups on their local gun dealers.
But what about the fingerprinting and background checks that may leave potential gun owners uneasy? People with mental illnesses and those who voluntarily allow themselves to be treated run the risk of not being able to purchase a firearm at all.
By and large, mental-health experts are not on the governor’s side with this issue, according to The Washington Post. It could carry the unexpected side effect of the gun enthusiast refusing to seek help simply to buy a gun—which is a fairly counterproductive move.
However, in a Post poll, 85 percent of Marylanders are in support of O’Malley and his efforts to tighten the laws on gun control.