ST. LOUIS -- Schnuck Markets here turned down an offer to display "The Vital Voice," a free regional newspaper for the gay and lesbian community, because of the space limitations and the lack of broad audience appeal, said Lori Willis, spokeswoman for the retailer.
"The decision to not carry 'Vital Voice' was not meant to be a criticism or a value judgment," she said. "It's an effort to remain consistent and fair in evaluating the many requests we receive annually [to carry newspapers and magazines]." Schnucks looks for publications with mass appeal, Willis added, and the newspaper's circulation of 15,000 does not fit Schnucks' criteria.
"The publication is limited in the scope of its editorial content," Willis noted. "We deny many publications that would only appeal to a limited audience."
The space limitation issue was a "convenient excuse," said Pam Schneider, publisher, "The Vital Voice." The paper has suggested its readers shop elsewhere.
"When we originally contacted [Schnucks], they said we were too controversial, then they back-pedaled the statement [by saying the person who made that statement was not authorized to speak out]," she told SN. "I would prefer them to be more honest. They're afraid of offending other customers."
Schnucks displays other regional niche newspapers with similar circulation size to "Voice," said Schneider.