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Out newsman Thomas Roberts: “If viewers know me professionally, why not know me personally?”

DIVERSITY: When I was among those who got laid off from my job at the LA Daily News last year due to deep budget cuts, I was disappointed for many reasons but one of the biggest was that I had been a very loud gay voice in that newsroom.

Usually the only gay voice.

I had started weighing in on and suggesting LGBT-themed stories from the beginning of my days at the paper in 2001 and by 2006, had started a gay-themed entertainment blog – something virtually unheard of at a daily mainstream paper.

With the newspaper business in such dire straights and other TV news also struggling, it’s easy to lose track of objectives like having diversity in a newsroom and to remember why it is important. That’s why I’m so proud to be producing Greg In Hollywood – entertainment and pop culture coverage through an LGBT lens.

Picture 2 That’s also why I’m thrilled that openly gay TV journalist Thomas Roberts is not only working for MSNBC right now, but that he is bringing a gay perspective to stories when he feels it’s appropriate.

“If viewers know me professionally, why not know me personally?” he said in an interview with Andrew Bolonsky for Death & Taxes. “I mean, to a point we all have our private lives, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my personal life, so why not share it with everybody?”

That was exactly what some suggested after Roberts interjected his personal experience into an interview about Ken Mehlman’s coming out last month. “I think for probably most heterosexual Americans this isn’t going to come as a big deal, but I think for millions of gay and lesbian Americans—me included—find this to be kind of a shocking admission,” he told his guest, gay Republican activist Chris Barron.

Says Roberts: “For all the people watching that interview, it added a point of interest coming from a person that understands why some people would want to know why this person chose to come out. I was curious.”

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