Editor Says Bristol “Isn’t Ready” For Gay Marriage Front Page After Complaints

The Bristol Post saw its circulation fall “by thousands” after putting the city’s first gay marriage on its front page.

1. This is the newspaper front page that was too much for some Bristolians to take, according to the paper’s editor.

Bristol Post / Local World

Bristol Post editor Mike Norton wrote on the paper’s website:

“It was an historic day for Bristol. The city’s first same-sex marriage. We thought it was front-page news. And we illustrated the event with the picture that defines any marriage – the happy couple’s first kiss.

“I’m a Bristolian, brought up in South Bristol. Real Bristol. One of the things I love about my home town is how characterful, tolerant and non-conformist its people are. So I thought Bristol was ready for that picture.

“But, boy, was I wrong. We lost thousands of sales of the paper. Which surprised me. Because, on the day, we received just nine phone calls of complaint.”

2. Norton says that speaking to people in the city, “absolutely no one I’ve spoken to admits to finding it offensive.”

3. Norton adds that what people say and do are too different things. But is there a societal reason for this?

BuzzFeed / NRS

Two thirds of people who buy a daily regional newspaper at least once a week are aged over (in some cases much over) 35.

According to a YouGov poll last year, people under 40 back gay marriage by more than three-to-one, while voters aged over 60 oppose it by more than two-to-one.

Gay marriage is a generational issue and the people who predominately buy newspapers every day are part of a generation that, it would seem, is uncomfortable about it being on front pages.

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Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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