Seth Bracken, Editor of QSaltLake 

click to enlarge ERIK DAENITZ
After more than five years, Michael Aaron, the many-hatted publisher/editor/designer/etc. of local LGBT mag QSaltLake (where I once-upon-a-time was also employed), seems relieved to turn over his editorial chapeau to Seth Bracken. A bright, young, Utah native, Bracken graduated magna cum laude from Utah State University’s journalism department and, until recently, served as an online editor for the Deseret News. Bracken dons his new ink-slinging headwear starting with QSaltLake’s March 3 issue.

What is the role of gay media in society?
We serve as a community forum and an educational resource for those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. And while gay media should not serve as a political-action group, it is important to reflect the issues facing each individual community.

How is this different from the role of alternative and/or mainstream media?
I don’t believe that our role is too much different. [But] gay media outlets have very specific audiences.

How do you achieve a balance between advocacy and journalistic objectivity?
Full disclosure: Before joining QSL, I was very much a citizen advocate for Utah’s gay community. All journalists have their own personal biases. That being said, I am very straight-friendly and pride myself on approaching issues with an objective eye.

What new directions do you intend to take?
I love this newspaper. Before I was ready to admit to anyone else that I was gay, I was an avid reader. However, the staff here is very overworked. I hope to bring energy and excitement to the paper. We want to make some improvements to the website and focus on growing our readership.

How do you expect the newsroom culture will differ from that of your previous employer?
Wow. I don’t even know where to begin. Our mission statement: to inform, educate and entertain our community with integrity, accuracy and gaiety. You can contrast that to Deseret Digital Media’s promise to honor the principles of the LDS Church. I think I’ll stick with educating and entertaining with gaiety.

Were you out of the closet when you worked at the Deseret News?
I started working for the Deseret News website before it was managed by the new Deseret Digital Media company. I came out of the closet to my family around the time my department was merged into DDM. I never explicitly came out to the management at work. It was so intimidating working for the Mormon-owned media. Although we professed journalistic integrity, the switch to DDM made the religion issue absolutely paramount. The halls in the offices had photos of the Mormon general authorities, and we had to say a prayer before our meetings. I always felt uncomfortable about my sexuality, and I was too nervous to come out to very many people for fear of losing my job. That being said, through subtle hints, I was able to let my close friends at work know I was gay. I just tried to keep it from the management.

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