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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 21, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 38
'In the Life' calls it quits
Section One
ALL STORIES
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'In the Life' calls it quits

Broadcast TV's first and only LGBT news program's final episode to air in December

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

After 20 years in production, the end is near for In the Life, the venerable LGBT newsmagazine aired mainly on PBS stations. The show's producer, In The Life Media (ITLM), announced this week that the final episode will air in December. Though legally dissolving the organization is a process that will continue into 2013, all regular ITLM operations will conclude with the last broadcast.

At a time when LGBT people were virtually invisible in media, In the Life brought the real stories, struggles, and issues of the community into living rooms across the country.

Beginning as a variety show in 1992, In the Life evolved into its current newsmagazine format over the years, becoming one of the most honored and respected sources for LGBT journalism in any media. In addressing difficult, critical issues, the show regularly gives voice to marginalized individuals, profiles unsung heroes of the LGBT movement, and documents the movement's most historic moments. It was the first major national media outlet to expose the alarmingly high rates of homelessness among LGBT youth, the epidemic rates of suicide among LGBT children who are bullied, and the widespread discrimination against Transgender individuals in the workplace.

In the Life, said ITLM Interim Executive Director Ellen Carton, 'has had the extraordinary privilege and responsibility of being the only newsmagazine to reflect the diversity of the LGBT communities, daring to tell stories other media outlets - both mainstream and LGBT - did not touch.'

Much has changed since In the Life first premiered. LGBT people now figure prominently in TV news and media. A majority of Americans, including the president, now support marriage equality. Studies show that visibility is the driving force behind this rapid shift in cultural attitudes toward the LGBT community.

'As the media organization that pioneered LGBT visibility on television,' said ITLM Board Co-Chair Jayne Sherman, 'we believe ITLM played a significant role in this historic progress.'

VISION WILL ENDURE
ITLM is coming to an end, but its vision is not. The organization will pass the baton to communities, networks, and individuals in the form of an online hub featuring thousands of hours of incomparable, never-before-seen video footage. Users will view, share, and build on the archive with their own stories, using the power of open-source, interactive technology to create a new wave of compelling LGBT media that will break down barriers to lasting social and political justice.

ITLM has entered into conversations with other organizations with the potential, passion, and infrastructure to create and lead this project.

'Creating high-quality, in-depth journalism is expensive, but digital technologies provide a new way forward,' said Henry van Ameringen, who co-chairs the ITLM board with Sherman. 'I am immeasurably proud of our legacy and the critical role we've played in the movement. We are committed to preserving our invaluable archive chronicling the evolution of LGBT rights in America with an online product that will continue to advance equality in new and innovative ways.'

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