Here's exactly how to make amends for past biased reporting on transgender people

Donna Minkowitz wrote one of the most important pieces about the murder of Brandon Teena, the transgender man depicted in the film Boys Don't Cry. A quarter century later, she does what few journalists have the courage to do: she acknowledged the botched the story with biased reporting. Read the rest

National Geographic calls itself to task for its racist past

As a species, we've got a long history of being shitty to one another for no other reason than skin color. White folks, myself included, have arguably earned the right to drop the mic on bigotry. Over the centuries, we honed systemic racism to such a razor edge that the cuts our ugly worldview made are still being suffered today. As our world's recent politics have illustrated, a lot of people still buy into this superiority-of-the-white-man bullshit. But it's getting better. Views are changing, albeit slowly, and we're crawling on our knees towards equality.

I think that one of the reasons that it's taking us so long to get there is that no one likes to admit that they're wrong. Doing so puts you in a perceived position of weakness, which is ironic given that owning one's faults can be so powerful. Believing this as I do, I was really surprised to read this morning that National Geographic decided to call itself to account for the racist reporting that its correspondents have written and they've published over the decades:

Instead of wasting their time on naval gazing, the magazine's editorial team asked an outsider, historian John Edward Mason, to hunt down all of the ugly, racist writing he could find from National Geographic's archives. As National Geographic's current Editor-in-Chief Susan Goldberg explains, examining the publication's past was both painful and necessary:

I’m the tenth editor of National Geographic since its founding in 1888. I’m the first woman and the first Jewish person—a member of two groups that also once faced discrimination here.

Read the rest

Lost Heroes and Miniature Histories of L.A.

This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network:

"The best historians in L.A. are storytellers. They're gangsters in east L.A., they're ex-cons, they're guys who worked in their garage their whole life, they're guys who've worked at one business for forty years, people who've lived on one street for forty years... "

“All Night Menu” started with a question: What is a well-known photograph of William Faulkner not telling us about his time in Hollywood? Since then writer Sam Sweet has spent four years prowling LA for its most closely-held stories. The result is a lovingly-produced, meticulously-researched and gorgeously-written three volumes of the city’s secret history.

This is the third episode of Season 5. You can catch up on the whole series at the iTunes Store. While you're there, please take a second to leave the show a rating and review. And you can subscribe right here:  

iTunes | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS Read the rest

TFW you're a White House reporter listening to Sean Spicer

Vice compiled this terrific compilation of White House reporters' reactions as they listen to Sean Spicer. If you don't laugh, you'll cry.

Read the rest

Chicago reporter's three grim years of covering overnight crime

What happens to a journalist assigned to cover Chicago's overnight violent crime? Chicago Tribune reporter Peter Nickeas describes in harrowing detail how three years of covering endless violence and misery changed him: Read the rest

Bloggers and students: Apply for Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize

If you live in the UK or Ireland, write about science, and have not been paid for that work, then you are eligible to apply for the Wellcome Trust's Science Writing Prize. The Prize is aimed at fostering high quality writing among science communicators who are either just starting their careers, or who write mainly as a hobby. Student journalists are eligible. So are people who blog about science. There are separate categories for professional scientists, and interested laypeople. The deadline is April 25. Read the rest