Thursday, May 1, 2008

Also, make this tax policy story fun

If I can go all journalism on you for a moment, Danny's blog about the female impersonator story that was assigned but never ran in the paper reminds me of my own "we can't run this" moment.

Oddly, it also involved a transvestite.

You have to run a legal a before you change your name. I picked one up a few years back where a man was changing his name to a woman's name. I don't remember the name.

Anyway, it turned out this was a man who divorced his wife, had a sex change operation, became a lesbian and was marrying another woman. I contacted her (the pronoun she preferred) and she and her partner agreed to an interview.

I pitched the story and it was received with enthusiasm. I spent quite a bit of time with the couple and also interviewed one of her kids, several sex-change doctors and another transvestite who lived nearby.

You try finding and cold-calling sex-change doctors and transvestites for an newspaper interview sometime. It's not a quick process.

I turned the story in and the editor, and I am not making this up, said we couldn't run the story because it read too much like Jerry Springer and not enough like 60 minutes. Could I, he asked, make it read less like Jerry Springer?

A transvestite in Macon, Georgia, decides he/she is a lesbian and marries another woman. Yeah, I'll 60 Minutes that puppy right up.

Needless to say, the story never ran.


Tiffany Stevens said...

I'm sorry Travis. I completely understand. I wanted to do a story in Fresh Ink on whether or not teens thought that current sex ed met required expectations, and whether it did anything to deter (or increase) teen pregnancy and/or drop out rates.
None of the other members touched the idea of getting quotes, Renee and Karen hemmed and hawed, and I was glared at severly by those I asked.
Naturally, CNN, C-Span, and The Daily Show have all hit up the same issue this week.

Lucid Idiocy said...

My advice: Get used to being glared at and doing things anyway. A lot of the good ideas sound bad at first.

Of course, so do the bad ones. So you have to make mistakes.