Tuesday, March 31, 2009


(Due to financial constraints, the Observer will not be able to put out a print edition of the publication for the forseeable future. If viewing this online, please read and consider it. The Observer has been there for the community since 1976 and hopefully the community will be there now for it.)

To paraphrase the title of the song, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, released on The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, can describe the crux of this editorial and appeal to the community and readers of this publication during these troubled economic times, especially in lieu of the announcements by Cleveland, Ohio’s weekly LGBT newspaper and the Advocate magazine, reducing the time-frame of their publication.

For the past thirty-three years, the Observer’s goal was to provide Tucson’s LGBT community a free, weekly newspaper, covering the issues of concern and through the rough beginning, the bad times and the good, this has been achieved with the hope of the betterment for all. Readers may or may not have agreed with the content but they can’t state that every week, this publication wasn’t there for the reading.

As time passed and with the advent of the Internet, things have changed for the Observer and every other newspaper, magazine or otherwise resulting in the reduction in size of many publications, as well as the readership viewing these endeavors by using a computer. Audio, video, podcasts and links to stories on such websites have become part of the lexicon.

This publication has been available online since 1996 and interactive with a blog, online at tucsonobserver.blogspot.com since April of this year. Is the Observer a little late to the game online, maybe or maybe not, since this publication isn’t about “profit,” but is for “informing the public” of what’s going on in Tucson and the world from the LGBT perspective.

One of the pluses that the Observer has over other LGBT newspapers and magazines is the online archive. From 1976 to the present, people can access this publication to read or most importantly, learn about LGBT history and the HIV/AIDS crisis from the very beginning - a point the staff and management of this publication takes pride in knowing.

How was this achieved? With thanks to “a little help from our friends,” also known as the LGBT and straight supportive community of Tucson, Southern Arizona and the rest of the globe, with their contributions to get the print edition library copied by the Arizona State Archive into form to be uploaded to the Internet.

On the website, tucsonobserver.com, the archive is the most popular feature, with online readers looking at copies of the paper going back to this nation’s bicentennial year. When a new edition comes out in print, it goes immediately into the archive for review, unlike other publications, which takes a couple of weeks to be able to be read online at the Pima County Public Library website or for a fee on the respective publication’s web page.

So why this editorial then? During these times, the Observer, in an effort to provide a free weekly publication to inform the readership of the issues of concern to the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities, needs a little help from our friends to ensure that Tucson’s LGBT history doesn’t become lost.

Maintaining the archive online does cost the publication and readers are well aware that the newspaper has been scaled back to continue printing weekly at no cost to the readers and wants to do so for the future but some help would be appreciated to assist in alleviating costs in the interim.

What would happen if the website had to be closed down, put offline, for those needing to use the Observer archive? A trip to Phoenix to the Arizona State Archive would be the means then to be able to access old edition of The Observer, a potential tragedy for all and something that can be avoided with “a little help from our friends.”

So when reading the Observer, either in print or online, consider making a small contribution to help defray the web/Internet costs to help keep the publication free, online and most importantly, weekly. This publication over the years has beaten the daily newspapers in this town covering the same issues concern the LGBT community and HIV/AIDS and will continue to strive to do so for the future.

At the website or the blog, people have the option of donating through the PayPal system but for those wanting to send a check, make checks payable to “The Observer,” and mail them to P.O. Box 50733, Tucson, AZ 85703 and with “a little help from our friends,” we all will get by during these times.

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