Gay dating app Grindr shut down its online magazine, Into, on Tuesday (15 January).
After Into’s 17-month run, US-based Grindr said it would be focussing on video. What’s more it terminated contracts with all its editorial staff.
‘After a thoughtful and collaborative process, Grindr’s leadership decided to modify Into’s content mix to rely more heavily on video’ a statement said.
‘As with any growing business, we have to continually evaluate what is best for Grindr’. It confirmed staff members would be leaving.
But, Into staffers and LGBTI advocates in the US bemoaned the loss to LGBTI media. Into caused controversy in November last year with a report into apparently anti-LGBTI comments by Grindr CEO, Scott Chen.
‘We feel that Into’s closure is a tremendous loss for LGBTQ media, journalism, and the world’ read a statement signed by the Into team.
Into ‘proved what queer people have shown for decades: there is an audience, a desire, and a hunger for LGBTQ stories told by LGBTQ people’ the statement said.
Former associate editor Mary Emily O’Hara said she was ‘deeply saddened’.
Hi everyone. I’m deeply saddened to confirm that this news is true. I want to thank my incredibly talented @into colleagues, the fantastic writers who patiently resolved my edits, and everyone who has read our work.
Also, I’m looking for a job. https://t.co/pK3Bk5fWQV
— Mary Emily O’Hara (@MaryEmilyOHara) January 15, 2019
Courageous and controversial
Into launched in August 2017. It ‘shared the hopes and joys of the LGBTQ community, our successes and setbacks, and our triumphs and heartaches during a vulnerable political moment’ according to the staffers’ statement.
Into covered stories including the experience of transgender prisoners behind bars and LGBTI refugees on the US border.
They were also the first national outlet to interview transgender candidate Christine Hallquist on her groundbreaking candidacy for the Vermont governorship.
But, Into found itself in hot water in November last year. In an article, it called out comments by Grindr CEO Scott Chen for apparently anti-LGBTI comments.
In December, Into was forced to apologize after a commentary piece labeled an Ariana Grande video transphobic and racist.
‘Such a loss’
LGBTI organizations and commentators joined the editorial team in the loss to queer media.
Throughout its run, @into has been an important source of news and culture for LGBTQ people, reported by a team of talented queer writers. This is a major loss for the LGBTQ news landscape. https://t.co/P6pju3yubW
— GLAAD (@glaad) January 15, 2019
Very sad to learn that @Grindr is “pivoting to video” and dissolving the entire editorial team at @Into. They were doing some amazing reporting on queer issues and I hope we find good homes for all of those talented writers. pic.twitter.com/37ubI3JkLm
— Zack Ford (@ZackFord) January 15, 2019
INTO being able to leverage millions of users through Grindr made it one of the most widely read LGBTQ publications. This couple with the roster of extraordinary, award winning journalists makes its shuttering a tremendous loss to LGBTQ media.
— Eliel Cruz (@elielcruz) January 15, 2019
American poet Saeed Jones also took to Twitter to say ‘disappointed but not surprised’.
‘Into was doing excellent work in culture, entertainment and news’ he wrote, ‘But in the end, Grindr didn’t seem to care’.
Others, meanwhile, bemoaned the switch to video.
I am so tempted to be snarky right now but honestly, it sucks when people lose their jobs and we lose LGBT news sites, especially in an ill-advised “pivot to video” (which killed Mic) https://t.co/dyWoXEn3S2
— Skylar Baker-Jordan (@SkylarJordan) January 16, 2019
‘Most of these niche brands [LGBTI media] won’t exist in a few years’ wrote Fox tech reporter Christopher Carbone.
Reasons? Some of the same forces decimating digital journalism broadly (biz models, weak brands) + mainstreaming LGBT content in all major outlets.
— Christopher Carbone (@christocarbone) January 16, 2019