Netroots Dispatch: Blogger/Organization Cooperation (An Effective Case Study)

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This post was generated live at Netroots Nation 2011 in Minneapolis, MN.

I haven’t posted much here on good ol’ ZFb (I’ve been kind of busy), but I thought it would be a good place to share a few thoughts from my weekend at Netroots Nation. Many of our conversations this week — particularly in the LGBT movement — have been about cooperation between blogs and organizations, as well as the sustainability of independent blogs. I want to share a little case study from this very weekend that I think exemplifies effective partnership. (I’m also happy to share this because it speaks to the amazing work the staff at GLAAD continues to do despite the upheaval in its leadership right now.)

On Thursday, I was going through some of the day’s news and found a story about a lesbian couple who were harassed by a security guard at a Minnesota Twins game. Because the Twins had announced the day before they would be creating an “It Gets Better” video, it seemed important to highlight that videos don’t solve all problems. I was sitting next to my good friend Allison Palmer, GLAAD’s Director of Digital Initiatives, and I mentioned it to her; she hadn’t yet heard about it. We had a great off-the-record conversation (that I got permission to mention here) about the incident as two individuals with unique professional perspectives. Allison had some great ideas and opinions that I definitely incorporated into my post at ThinkProgress; my post was stronger because of my conversation with her.

Shortly after Allison and I parted ways, I got an email from her colleague, Aaron McQuade (GLAAD’s Deputy Director of News and Field Media). Allison had let Aaron know about the story, and he contacted me to share some extra details from his direct interactions with the team and the commitment they’d made to GLAAD to rectify the situation. I incorporated them into the post, which had fortunately not yet been published.

Then, shortly after my post went up, GLAAD published their post, crediting (and more importantly, linking back to!) my post on the story. Obviously, the tone of my post (“It doesn’t get better…”) was quite different from GLAAD’s (“Twins will reach out…”), but in exactly the ways that respect our unique goals as a blogger and an org. For this “small” story, both the blogger and the org were able to benefit from cooperation without compromising.

So, here are the highlights of this experience:

» The blogger and someone from the organization had insightful, off-the-record conversation that highlighted both sides’ perspectives.

» The org provided background info about its response to support the blogger’s story.

» The blogger was given the opportunity to “break” the story first.

» The org linked back to the blog to support the blog’s traffic.

» Though the blog and org approached the story in different ways, the result was a synergistic response to the incident.

At the end of the day, an incident of harassment at a baseball game is not going to be the revolutionizing political story of the year, but here it demonstrates how the “insiders” and the “outsiders” can work together toward the common goal of LGBT equality.

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