OK. I must be recuperating!
Last night i picked up on a degree of upset over a site called courtnewsuk. They are a news feed service who cover court cases in London, and then supply copy to whoever will pay them for it.
The immediate cause for upset could be found in their reporting of the case of Destiny Lauren. Four stories to date, including two headlines that read:
July 22: FYLE: TRANNY MURDERED BY STRANGLING PUNTER
February 22: FYLE:MAN ACCUSED OF STRANGLING TRANNY EXCORT GIRL DENIES MURDER
Let’s be clear about this. I am not and never will be in favour of state-imposed “political correctness” – whatever that may be. If you wish to say “tranny”, you may. Depending on place, company and context, it may be acceptable – or it may be deeply offensive. You should be aware of that before using the word.
Given that many trans men and women DO find the term offensive, it is always going to struggle for justification in a news context.
A number of online friends had noted this page and were, as one would expect, offended. Doubly so, as this story was about someone allegedly murdered.
Nice: to find someone you may have known, maybe unlawfully killed, having their name spattered around the tabloids using a word they might well have found offensive in their lifetime.
I got ready for battle. Perhaps time to urge papers to boycott this news service. Because on the whole crime reporting is a mixed bag, but i think the worst damage comes from off-the-record police briefings and SOME – but not all news services.
I called courtnews and… to my surprise a very nice man apologised and changed the headlines. He gave me a contact to write to in case of further probs – and said he would mention it in the office.
Contact, for anyone else upset by courtnews is their complaints manager, Henri Burgess, who can be contacted on email@example.com. Phone number is 0207 236 0116.
Assuming the nice man was being truly nice – and not just fobbing the “loony activist” off with pretty words, then it may be that things over at CourtNews will be improving.
Watch this space – and if you see more of the same, please drop me a line.