SSO Media’s editor-in-chief Marcus O’Donnell has taken up a position as lecturer in journalism at the University of Wollongong.

O’Donnell joined the SSO Media team in May 1999 after editing the now-defunct gay lifestyle magazine Outrage for four years.

Originally employed as Sydney Star Observer editor, O’Donnell was appointed editor-in-chief of SSO Media in July 2004.

O’Donnell said he was proud of the company’s achievements in a sometimes-difficult market.

At a time when all of the key community organisations and institutions in the gay community have either gone bankrupt or been in serious trouble, the Star has managed to grow and become even more relevant, he said.

The reason we’ve been able to do that is we’ve realised the gay and lesbian community is in a radical new moment. I think we’ve done two things that gay media need to do.

We’ve been critical where it’s been necessary to hold people and organisations to account and we’ve been supportive and encouraging of new initiatives and growth in the community.

O’Donnell said the Star‘s primary responsibility has been to present fair, unbiased and truthful news to its readers.

One of the things I’m really proud of is how hard we were on the Gay Games in the face of enormous pressure not to write critical articles about their funding problems, O’Donnell said.

One of the real problems for the Star has been the failure of key leaders in the gay community to speak honestly and on the record about key issues. We have difficulty finding people who will criticise organisations even when they know there are serious problems that need to be addressed.

O’Donnell said he was proud to leave SSO Media in such a good position for the future.

The Star has never been stronger, he said.

It has a fantastic professional team and I believe it is one of the best gay newspapers in the world. The Sydney gay and lesbian community is extremely lucky to have a paper of such quality.

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