Volume 74, Number 9 | June 30 - July 6, 2004

Russians will see if The Villager’s ideas translate

By Lincoln Anderson

Villager photo by Lincoln Anderson

Five of a group of seven Russians in the newspaper business who visited The Villager last week.

A group from several Russian weekly and daily newspapers visited the offices of Community Media on Monday, seeking to learn more about American newspapers. Including editors, publishers, salespersons and circulation directors, they met for an hour and a half with the editorial staff of The Villager, Downtown Express and Gay City News, the three newspapers comprising Community Media.

The Russians noted they don’t have much of a gay press in their country.

“We don’t have any similar newspapers,” one of them said through their translator.

They enjoyed watching the Gay Pride March on Sunday, however, and, in fact, one woman from their group even joined the parade. But one publisher said he was surprised at the strong political expressions in the march, such as anti-Bush statements and costumes.

They said they see Greenwich Village as a “symbol of the intellectual and artistic expression.”

Regarding 9/11, they said it was a shock for everyone, but that Russia has been fighting terrorism for 100 years.

They wanted to know if a candidate or group took out a lot of political ads if that would then cause the newspaper to support those candidates or groups. They were told no.

The phrase “neighborhood newspaper” was unfamiliar to them, seeing as one of their well-known proverbs is, “Ask about your neighbors, then buy the house.” They wanted to know if people really get along here. On many issues, they were told, Downtowners find common cause, such as fighting development or on quality of life; while, at other times, the community can be divided, as seen in the battle over what income-level housing to build on the Seward Park urban renewal sites.


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