Bil Browning

WTHR-13 vs WRTV-6: A Tale of Two News Stations

Filed By Bil Browning | September 24, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Transgender & Intersex

Last December when local trans woman Taysia Elzy was murdered, several local reporters used offensive language to describe Taysia and her relationship. While the Indianapolis Star did a training session with their staff after the incident, NBC's WTHR-13 reporter Steve Jefferson got named "Worst in the Nation" for his refusal to acknowledge his sub-standard reporting. WTHR's News Director Carolyn Williams promised to talk to the Station Manager about diversity training there, but was rebuffed; 21059547_240X180.jpgshe did change the online version of the story to conform to the AP Style Guide.

This week another trans person hit the crime beat stories, but there was a noticeable difference in how their story was handled by a television station. ABC's WRTV-6 web editor Maggie Loiselle reached out before publishing her story on the arrest of an 85 year old crossdresser for prostitution. She wasn't sure which gender pronoun to use for Frances Tucher since she didn't know how Tucher presented most of the time.

Here's the pertinent clip from Loiselle's story:

The arrest of an 85-year-old on a charge of public indecency has prompted police to take a closer look at the issue of prostitution along an eastside corridor.

Frances Tucher, 85, was arrested last week after a neighbor on East 10th Street called police. Investigators said Tucher was performing a sex act in a car near 10th Street and Chester Avenue, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.

Tucher, who has no criminal history, was preliminarily charged with indecent exposure, not prostitution. Tucher's gender identity is not known at this time.

Notice how deftly the writer steers away from gender necessary pronouns in favor of "an 85 year old" or "Tucher?" These three brief paragraphs should become an example used in GLAAD's media trainings for it's simplicity and conciseness. Loiselle tells the story in a respectful manner and gets all of the facts on the table.

Kudos to Loiselle and WRTV-6 for their well-written and thoughtful story about a difficult situation in someone's life.

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

Tucher certainly has an interesting first name...

the spelling of the name Frances/Francis identifies the sex of the person in question. There is a male and female spelling of this name so there is no reason to be more specific.

Maggie Loiselle is indeed an outstanding writer.