Name: Kerry Eleveld
Title: Washington correspondent
Outlet: The Advocate
Preferred e-mail address: Kerry.Eleveld@regentmedia.com
Web site: http://www.advocate.com/
The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld has covered LGBT issues and politics for three years. She also conducted the only sit-down interview by an LGBT outlet with Barack Obama during the election. She talks with Kimberly Maul about the issues that she expects to cover in the coming year.
PRWeek: What are some of the most interesting issues that you're following?
Kerry Eleveld: “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” I find to be one of the most interesting things, something Obama campaigned very hard on. During my interview with him, he seemed to indicate that he didn't think it would be a particularly heavy lift, and yet it seemed to get dropped like a hot potato in the first few months.
We've just started to see some movement on it, legislatively both in the House and in the Senate. The House has a new sponsor of [a bill to repeal it], Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA). He is very aggressive. He's an Iraq War vet. He's very good spokesman, and he seems to be moving forward.
In the Senate, they just announced that they would be holding hearings on “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” for the very first time, which is a little unusual because there isn't a Senate bill yet for repeal, but nonetheless, the hearings are going forward.
PRWeek: What are you looking forward to covering? Any goals for the coming year?
Eleveld: My goals for the coming year are to keep my head down and continue to unearth the news about LGBT politics as it emerges, and to ask probing questions at a time that may be uncomfortable for certain congressmen or the White House.
But also to keep the LGBT issues on the radar and get a sense of where the politicians are heading with this. I think that in many ways, I find that the politicians in DC right now are a little bit behind the culture on LGBT issues. Obviously, I'm not a completely objective observer in this realm. But when you look at something like “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” 75% of Americans now believe that gays and lesbians should be able to serve openly, as well as the fact that within that group, 58% of conservatives believe that. When you don't see very much movement on something like the military gay ban, you get a sense that the politicians are sort of mired in history, and reliving 1993 over and over again.
PRWeek: Do you have any advice for people who want to get an issue on your radar or have an idea or topic that they think might interest you?
Eleveld: Absolutely. They should go ahead and e-mail me if they have something. I try to stay very specific to what's going on in Washington with either Congress or the White House, because it's such a big beat, there's really little more that I can do other than that. But they should e-mail me and put “pitch” in the subject line. Hopefully, if it's relevant to what I'm doing, I'm happy to take pitches from anywhere.