Bristol Post editor baffled by fact that front page gay kiss costs thousands of sales

Full marks to Bristol Post editor Mike Norton who put a picture of two men kissing on his front page and was the baffled to find it cost him thousands of sales.

The City's first gay marriage was certainly news. So why the turn-off? That is exactly the question he has asks in a refreshingly honest blog post:

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.

I suspect the answer lies with the fact that older newspaper readers were more socially conservative than the editor realised.

It reminds me of a story I wrote on my first paper about a visitor to an idyllic Sussex market town being racially abused in a pub and forced to leave. I thought the man's account would generate a storm of outrage in the community. The response instead was silence. Asking around I was shocked to realise that casual racism did not appear to be uncommon in that 99 per cent white community of around 15 years ago.

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