Years in print:
Mixed Reaction Greets Publisher of Gay Paper
Publisher Suzanne Goell put out the first issue of the gay newspaper No Bad News in June 1980. The monthly has a circulation of 8,000 and sports a host of midtown advertisers.
Immediately accepted by the gay community, Goell received a chilly reception from friends and associates. “About a third were genuinely shocked,” she said. “The others ranged from being mildly surprised to generally tolerant.” St. Louis, as Goell well knows, is still a well of conservatism despite its size and national stature as a major media market. And in light of the present social and political milieu, she doubts attitudes will change much in the near future.
“I think there is a definite need for this sort of publication,” said Goell, pointing out that prior to No Bad News, St. Louis was the only major city in the country without such a publication.
Contrary to public perception, “The gay community is no more cohesive than the hetero community. [In fact,] it tends to be divided into many different factions,” said Goell. She never intended to espouse any particular viewpoint, and the publication’s primary purpose is “to provide an information exchange.”
Also publisher of the successful West End Work, Goell admits that publishing gay news “has not been dull,” and that as long as she breaks even in costs, she’ll continue the venture.
Content-wise, the paper presents gay-related news stories, calendar events, commentary, advertising and, recently, a rather steamy fiction serial that prompted a rush of feedback, both positive and negative.
“I have a sincere conviction in what I’m doing,” said Goell, who writes in a recent NBN commentary that gays, in their struggle to achieve first-class citizenship should establish themselves “as responsible people, bent upon correcting injustice but also respectful of others.”
(Originally published in the St. Louis Journalism Review 3/1981).