What seems like a very long time ago, I contacted GLAAD about Pittsburgh media coverage of a story involving the University of Pittsburgh and the trans community. In fact, it was just April 2012 when I did that and one of the most responsive reporters involved was Michael Fuoco of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. His coverage was actually better than most, but he willingly spoke with GLAAD and made some changes that were apparent within just a day or so.
Would that any other outlet be so responsive. The City Paper and WESA 90.5 FM are the only outlets that have any internal guidelines for LGBTQ coverage. And that’s likely not going to change anytime soon, requiring those of us who notice to keep careful eyes on each story.
While it can be frustrating to go reporter by reporter to tackle fair and accurate media coverage of the LGBTQ community, it can be worthwhile. Michael Fuoco went on to co-write a stellar series on the local trans community along with reporter Mackenzie Carpenter and photojournalist Michael Henninger. The series was a finalist in the 2015 GLAAD Media Awards, something Fuoco is proud to have accomplished. More importantly, the joint effort maintained the Post-Gazette’s credibility even though the paper won’t adopt a style guide and had the misfortune to hire trans hate-monger Jennifer Graham to their editorial team.
Fuoco has been nominated once again for this award, this time for his coverage of the appointment of Dr. Rachel Levine to the position of physician general for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. She’s the 4th person to hold this specific position and the first openly transgender individual to serve in a Cabinet level position in Pennsylvania history. Dr. Levine also has the distinction of being appointed with a universal vote in what is otherwise a horribly partisan government.
Kudos to Michael Fuoco for continuing to raise the bar on LGBTQ media coverage in this region. And best of luck to him in the awards process. Here’s hoping the editors and publishers (especially them!) recognize that a shift to capture the Tribune Review’s perceived right wing readers doesn’t require a sacrifice in terms of fairness and accuracy.
For those interested, the GLAAD media guide is here.
FTR, Fuoco is still there and Graham has left the paper. That’s also a significant turn of events.