Why the column about Jana Shortal made me so upset
Trending in Minneapolis today and around the country tomorrow was the story that a Star Tribune gossip columnist wrote about local journalist Jana Shortal’s pants. The “gossip column” asserted that jeans are not appropriate attire to wear when reporting on the Jacob Wetterling story.
Clearly, you know how I felt about it because of my headline. I was upset. I found the original column to be strange and unnecessary. Why would any news outlet publish a column about a journalists pants? What made this absurd column even worse for me were the tweets and the non-apology “apology” put out by the columnist afterwards.
People are upset. Why? because everyone knows what it feels like.
I can’t say that I’ve never written words that were mean or said or done something hurtful to another human. But, I try to do better each day. AND if someone points out to me the insensitive words I’d written or told me when I did something hurtful I would sincerely apologize and try to do better.
When you create content, write stories, or are a public figure you need to hold yourself to a high standard. You have a platform and the means to tell a story. It’s a very important job and you should take pride in the work that you do. It’s not always easy but if you are good at it you should be able to tell yourself what is ready to share with the rest of the world. It also helps to have great Editors that guide you.
Lets be honest, as soon as you hit that publish button it it out there–there’s no way to take it back. Only apologize and try to do better when you’ve made a mistake.
Over and over again I’ve watched Jana tell the stories. Tell stories that are hard to tell and speak the truth about herself. That is why this hurts me. She got up that morning, went to work, did her job and was singled out. Who or what is next if this is fair game?
What should the Star Tribune do? That’s up to them, but they should hold themselves up to higher journalistic standards.
To the columnist– think about what you just did. If you don’t feel remorse that’s on you. But, be mindful that most of us out there wore an item of clothing and we were put down, made to feel less than, or down right terrorized because we were different or just the person to attack at that time. Most of us have been there. Most of us have worn those jeans.
Let me leave you with a little nugget that I keep at my desk:
“Before you speak, think–Is it necessary? Is it true? Is it kind? Will it hurt anyone? Will it improve on the silence?”
Because we are better than this
Xoxo – mplsgossipgirl
Jana would love if you donated to the Jacob Wetterling Foundation HERE