SPJ HQ Launches Race and Gender Hotline

The following originally appeared on SPJ national’s website.

Confidential and nonjudgmental

You’re a reporter on deadline. How do I properly identify that transgender crime victim?

You’re an editor on deadline. Can my headline be short and sensitive?

You’re an art director on deadline. Is my illustration stylistic or whitewashing?

You’re a photographer on deadline. Is my photo representative or insensitive?

Fast answers for confused journalists

SPJ has partnered with experienced Black and LGBT journalists and educators, including the Trans Journalists Association. They’ll offer concrete advice for your specific situation.

Even if you choose not to follow that advice, you’ll hang up with an enlightened grasp of the race-and-gender issues currently roiling the news media. And whatever happens on your call, it’s all off the record.

It’s a consultation, not a courtesy

You’ll speak to Black and LGBT experts who are getting paid for their time. But you don’t pay them. SPJ does.

Why is this important? Because it’s become a sad stereotype that White people are constantly asking POC and LGBT communities for advice.

That’s what should happen, right? Yes and no. Honestly asking questions is definitely a good thing — it’s the journalistic thing, after all — but it’s also time-consuming and, frankly, not their job.

But what if it was their job?

You’ll have a calm conversation about controversial topics because this is a business transaction, no different than consulting a First Amendment attorney on a story.