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Feb. 7, 2014: Sensitivity and Accuracy in the Media

February 8, 2014

I’m re-posting this blog from the Huffington Post because, as a journalist, I get how insensitive the media can be when running articles about transpeople: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/parker-marie-molloy/the-medias-coverage-of-transgender-people-im-never-surprised_b_3873762.html.

Yes, this is about sensitivity. But it’s also about accuracy. In journalism school and throughout my career, accuracy has been a top priority, and to publish inaccurate information is tantamount to a mortal sin. That’s as it should be, because it’s our job as media professionals to present the facts as they are, even in human interest stories. And if we are reporting on a subject that we don’t know much about, it’s our job to learn about it so we can present the story accurately.

So I don’t fault the reporter mentioned in the Huff Post blog for her ignorance about transpeople. But I do fault the reporter for not doing enough homework on transgender issues before writing the article. I also fault the editor for not questioning the story’s “facts,” since the editor has final say on all editorial content in the publication.

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