Editorial: GayNZ.com to 'retire' May 31st.
By Jay Bennie & Neil Gibb
10th April 2017 - 04:48 pm
Times change. Cultural, social,
technological and personal aspects of our lives change.
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
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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