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Friday 30 June 2017


Editorial: GayNZ.com to 'retire' May 31st.

Posted in: Community
By Jay Bennie & Neil Gibb - 10th April 2017

Times change. Cultural, social, technological and personal aspects of our lives change.

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What is a good fit for one part of our lives is not necessarily a good fit for the next stage. Communities, as well as people, change. Battles are won and new challenges emerge. Older people must make space for younger people and their ideas based on our present and their future. Change is part of life.

GayNZ.com has, for sixteen and a bit years, operated as an independent reporter of many of the aspects of what makes up life for glbti people in New Zealand and to a lesser extent, overseas. We have always been primarily volunteer-based, drawing on the input of people with skills and commitment to do what we have believe has been a good job of reporting without fear or favour, helping our fellow glbti people understand themselves and their community/communities a little better.

We have been beholden to no-one, no organisations or mind-sets. Other than a brief flirtation years ago with seeing if being profit-driven would work (it didn't - we immediately had to start compromising our journalistic integrity to 're-shape' our 'product' to be alluring to advertisers rather than concentrating purely on our readers) we have been zealously community-based and therefore not-for-profit, with just enough advertising to more or less cover costs such as employing a core writer/content organiser and keeping the engine running.

GayNZ.com grew out of a challenge in another time of great change. In 2001 the post-law reform age was combining with the start of the digital revolution and we rose up to tackle the challenge. We all had energy, focus and commitment. But two of us on whom GayNZ.com has always relied to maintain a high standard of editorial coverage and technical wizardry aren't getting any younger. Our communities are moving forward, embracing a new age of being glbti and crafting the age which will in turn follow this one. The operation we have built and sustained, with a few changes on the way, may not be the best one for the future.

Without two of the three of us on whom GayNZ.com primarily relies (yes, we and our contributors and advisers are really quite a tiny group – quality, we hope, rather than quantity) to maintain viablility, stability and contribute content the current model is not as viable as it once was.

Maybe we could ourselves strategise, tweak, re-position, even re-brand, somehow re-energise. But after sixteen years of a high level of input into gay community journalism and communication, with a corresponding deficit in our personal lives, we've decided we'd rather have more of a life than face another big challenge. To some extent changing family commitments and imperatives have also had to be acknowledged. So it is with some regret that we - Neil Gibb who has built, maintained and updated the remarkably extensive bespoke engine that runs the website part of GayNZ.com and Jay Bennie who has overseen editorial direction while creating some content and helping keep the ship afloat - have decided that it's time to call it a day.

It's time to make way for the future and we feel it's time to stand aside and let something new emerge.

GayNZ.com's website will switch off at the end of May. Our last issue of the national venues and organisations Gay Guide was the last and what will happen with the Facebook presence is up for discussion.

Writer par excellence Sarah Murphy, as the third person in the triumvirate at the core of GayNZ.com, is the person most immediately and adversely affected by our decision, but she has graciously understood and accepted our need to step down, and its consequences for her. Sarah is passionate about our communities and the many personal aspects of being a glbti person, she has foresight, an enquiring mind and she empathises... but she won't be pushed around either. We hope that Sarah's enthusiasm and commitment will find another similar outlet and to anyone who feels that they might explore stepping into the space we are vacating we whole-heartedly commend Sarah to you without reservation.

From now until the end of May our door is open to anyone with any ideas for creating something new, especially if it involves utilising Sarah or any elements of our current operation.

We will in our final weeks pay tribute to those who have been part of GayNZ.com along the way, as staffers, contributors, confidants (some of whom will never be able to be named!) and advisers. Editorially we'll look back at sixteen years of change and personally we'll all be adapting to this significant change, each in our own individual way.

But for this first public step we wanted as soon as we could to lay our cards on the table for the communities we have sought to serve and who have in return to a degree come to rely on us.


- Neil Gibb

- Jay Bennie




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Jay Bennie & Neil Gibb - 10th April 2017