A call for sensitivity in journalism

Jan 21, 2014

This morning's top trending story is a thoughtful (and thought-provoking) piece from ESPN writer Christina Kahrle in response to last week's controversy over the Grantland article "Dr. V’s Magical Putter." As journalists, we might believe that we're normally better skilled than most in the art of compassion and consideration. Empathy arguably is, after all, one of the greatest assets in any reporter's toolbelt. Yet in the case of Essay Anne Vanderbilt, writers must grapple with what can happen when a dearth of cultural cognizance causes us to stumble. "If you have been following and arguing the Dr. V putter story, your journey should end with this by @ChristinaKahrl," advised Joe Posnanski at Sports on Earth. At San Jose Mercury NewsDaniel M. Jimenez elaborated on why this story is worth your time: "Writer @ChristinaKahrl on how the #DrV article lays bare our society's horrible treatment of #trans people." We also have to agree with Ken Sands with The Chronicle of Higher Education, who concluded, "Good journalism outing a con artist. Flawed execution in outing transgender."

Grantland editor in chief Bill Simmons also penned a profound apology in the wake of the article's aftermath. Simmons writes, "To my infinite regret, we never asked anyone knowledgeable enough about transgender issues to help us either (a) improve the piece, or (b) realize that we shouldn’t run it. That’s our mistake — and really, my mistake, since it’s my site. So I want to apologize. I failed." In response, journalist Josh Fleet neatly summarized the last week's whole narrative thusly: "How to report badly, why you shouldn't and how to apologize."

About the author

Writes the @MuckRackDaily & runs #muckedup chat. Creator of #100helpfuldays. I can haz media tips? kirsten@sawhorsemedia.com

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