Great written (and oral) tribute to Jeff Schmalz, the influential but oft-forgotten New York Times reporter and editor who changed how the influential Grey Lady covered the gay community.
Samuel G. Freedman writes:
One evening nearly 20 years after Jeff’s death, my fiancé and I were having dinner with another couple—she a screenwriter, he a former magazine journalist now working on a cable series about journalism. The conversation turned to New York State’s recent legalization of same-sex marriage, a stance vociferously endorsed by The New York Times. I mentioned how remarkable it was to me, having lived through such a homophobic period at the paper, to see it become the champion of gay rights. Then I found myself talking about Jeff and his AIDS articles, fully expecting that my friends would be familiar with him and them. But they drew a blank. That blank, of course, made sad sense. Jeff had been dead for a generation by now. Newspaper writing is evanescent, as perishable as the paper it is printed upon. Still, I could not believe that people who would know the names and work of Randy Shilts, Larry Kramer, Tony Kushner, Terrence McNally, Michelangelo Signorile, Andrew Sullivan—those artists and journalists who bore witness to the AIDS plague —could not know of Jeff Schmalz. It felt like a moral duty for me to do something to rescue Jeff from obscurity.Continue HERE.