Q&A: UA alum helps create new LGBTQ newsletter
Christianna Silva, who graduated from the University of Arizona in 2017, has started a career as a journalist covering civil rights, LGBTQ and gender issues. Since her time as a Wildcat, the UA alumna has had articles featured in Teen Vogue, VICE News, NPR and Newsweek.
The Daily Wildcat spoke with Silva about “The Bottom Line,” a new weekly LGBTQ-themed newsletter she co-created with her friend Danny Nett.
Daily Wildcat: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and Danny, your fellow creator of “The Bottom Line?”
Christianna Silva: To start out, Danny is a Sagittarius and I’m a Virgo, making us pretty good working partners. Danny and I met in the summer of 2017 as two insufferable people at an NPR intern party who linked up to talk about gay stuff and ignore everyone else. I was the digital news intern and Danny was the social media intern, so we ended up working on assignments together pretty frequently, starting with live coverage of the D.C. Pride Parade. I left NPR to work at Newsweek and eventually found my way to PHOENIX magazine and Teen Vogue. Danny is now an engagement editor at NPR.
DW: What inspired the two of you to create an LGBTQ-themed newsletter?
CS: Honestly, "The Bottom Line" started as a garbage tweet because Danny thought the pun was funny. When we first started talking about finding a way to collect all the smart essays, deep-dive investigations and trashy, slutty queer stuff of the internet that we typically saved for our Twitter DMs into one place, we were already contributing members to queer media. Danny covered a lot of LGBTQ issues at NPR, and I was the LGBTQ reporter for Newsweek. We were interested in this incredible dearth in coverage of LGBTQ people’s lives — and the dearth in getting to write and talk about these things in media. After a few months of joking about creating a newsletter, we decided to just go for it.
DW: What do you hope readers take away from “The Bottom Line?”
CS: I hope people think Danny and I are charming and cute. I also hope that people take a look at the media they’re consuming and see how often it’s written by and for cisgender, straight people. And then, hopefully, work to correct that.
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DW: What role do you think the media and journalists play in or could play in the lives of minorities such as members of the LGBTQ community?
CS: This is a big deal. Media plays a huge role in how all of us lead our lives, no matter which communities we are members of. I’m going to speak specifically about LGBTQ people here, instead of all minorities, just for the sake of clarity. Queer people aren’t reported on or written about with the expediency and effort that accurately represents our lives. Moreover, we aren’t spoken to as sources nearly as often as we should be. And when we are, often times, LGBTQ people are misrepresented in media in ways that are directly harmful to the folks who are being reported on: They’re reported as “other,” as villainous, as victims, or are stereotyped as supporting characters. Their genders are misreported. Their deadnames are used.
*A deadname is the birth name of someone who has changed it or no longer wants to be referred to by it.
DW: In your experience, how has social media affected the ways you can reach audiences and the type of content you can publish?
CS: I’m not sure I have anything particularly enlightened to say about this one, since I started working in media when social media was already a pretty powerful tool. But I’ll say that social media has removed the typical media gatekeepers and allowed anyone with an opinion to publish any kind of content. This is very good and it is also very bad. It’s great, because it allows people, particularly marginalized people who have previously been swept out of conversations, the ability to have their voices heard. It’s also allowed a lot of assholes to have the same platform.
I love Twitter. Danny loves Twitter more than me. Both of us consider quitting Twitter every day, but if it wasn’t for that dumb website, no one would be subscribed to our newsletter. And, as two people who completely define our own self worth based on useless metrics, we will probably never quit.
DW: What do you hope this new year brings for you and for “The Bottom Line?”
CS: Honestly, I’m just praying by Kesha that we can somehow maintain the momentum we’ve had the past few weeks into 2019.
DW: How can someone interested in "The Bottom Line" sign up to receive the newsletter and/or read your upcoming work?
CS: Go to bottomlinenewsletter.com to sign up for the newsletter, and follow me on Twitter at @christianna_j to read my upcoming work and jokes I like. Danny is better at Twitter, and you can follow him @dannynett.
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