Friday, March 18, 2011

Sunshining the GLAADies

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is one Gay Inc group that if it went out of business today, a huge favor will have been done for the community. GLAAD is nothing much more than a social-climbing network for media professionals, with an ability to suck dollars out of gay individuals and foundations. In September, I questioned what they did with an $80,000 grant from the Arcus Foundation to amplify the voices of bloggers and never received an explanation from GLAAD nor from Arcus.

GLAAD has initiated an award for gay bloggers for their money-making galas this year, and the five nominees are Bil Browning of Bilerico (where some of my essays have been cross-posted), Andres Duque of Blabbeando, Joe Jervis of JoeMyGod, Rod McCullom of Rod.20 and Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend.

I sent them all, and Richard Ferraro at GLAAD, a few questions about the nominating process and GLAAD charging an application fee, after this note arrived from a little birdy that I shared with everyone:
I forgot to tell you about those GLAAD awards. You were talking about that the other day. Apparently every one nominated had to be recruited to submit their own names for the blog categories. The original proposal was supposed to have a payment along with the submission. No one applied. None of the folks nominated are going cus they don't get a free ticket and the tickets are megabucks. Nice, huh?
I received three replies.

From Pam:

Apparently the nomination was recruited; I was offline for quite a long while during Nov-Dec due to major surgery. When I got back online the amount of email was so great that I declared "email bankruptcy" and just filed hundreds of emails away into the trash.

Anyway, one must have been the GLAAD solicitation to nominate a blog (or my own). I received an email sometime later, maybe January, asking if I knew that this award was in motion and whether I wanted to submit PHB, even though the deadline had just passed. I asked whether there was some form to fill out (I really had no interest in filling out anything I was just doing well enough to get back to work). I was told that if I wanted PHB entered for consideration, they'd fill out the form. Nothing was mentioned about money changing hands at all.

I figured that was the last of it, and that PHB was one of many LGBT blogs in the hopper; I was under the impression that a nomination wasn't a given by just filling out the form. So I was surprised when I received word of the nomination later. ...

Last week PHB was invited to attend the NYC awards as a member of the media, not as a nominee; specifying there was no dinner for the nominees anyway. I'm unable to go because of the tight timeline and my full calendar and none of my contributors was available; again, I'm not sure what the other noms were told. ...

The reply from Andres:

As in past years, I was aware that GLAAD would be doing their media awards this year. I did not initially submit my blog for consideration not because there was a fee but because I was not aware that they had launched a brand new category for blogs. I did receive a separate message highlighting the category, which I assume they also sent to other bloggers.

There was a submission process which required submitting a description of the blog, sample entries and contact info and a photograph. There was also a nomination fee (which I believe is across the board and not just limited to the blog category). When I inquired about it, I was told that I could ask for a waiver. I completed the submission and sent it before the deadline - and received the fee waiver.

I didn't hear about the awards again until the list of nominated blogs was released. I was personally thrilled, of course, and I remember being surprised how much attention it got from regular media. I considered that, in itself, a win, as I never really believed I had any chance to win considering the other better-known nominees.

As for attending the ceremony (at least the upcoming one in New York City): I can say that that I was personally invited as press for the event's red carpet ceremony and I was also told that they'd hold a seat for me to watch the actual award ceremony. I will not be in attendance not because I did not receive an invitation but because I am otherwise engaged.

From Richard at GLAAD:

This year, GLAAD is thrilled to introduce the Outstanding Blog category. We received unsolicited submissions from blogs – some of which became nominees. We also alerted bloggers to the new opportunity and encouraged them to be a part of the consideration process. As we sometimes do when requested by media in other categories, we waived the application fee. Each of this year’s nominees were invited to see the show in New York and some will be attending. ...

The submission fee for the GLAAD Media Awards is $50 per entry. Submission fees for awards programs are standard practice. Our fee is significantly lower than others. This fee covers the cost of processing the submissions and duplicating the materials for our volunteer jurors to review.

IMHO, it's problematic for independent gay bloggers to be part of any GLAAD award process, if only because it could co-opt or compromise the independence of the bloggers. You're probably thinking I'm feeling left out since I was not recruited to self-nominate this blog, but even if GLAAD folks dared to have me, a staunch critic of the group, get in on the awards act, I would have rejected the whole process. The last thing I want is to be associated in any way with GLAAD's operation.

However, the nominated bloggers think much differently, and I thank Pam and Andres, Richard too, for sharing their thoughts, and hope there is more gay blogosphere discussion about the alleged value of GLAAD and whether bloggers ought to be receiving an award from them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

GLAAD only charges a fee for GLBT media submissions.