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SPJ and Trans Journalists Association partner on Race & Gender Hotline


Matthew T. Hall, SPJ National President, 619-987-7786, mhall@spj.org
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, zberg@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists and the Trans Journalists Association launched a simple way for editors, reporters, photographers and designers to improve their content and coverage — even on deadline.

The Race & Gender Hotline allows any journalist to instantly consult experts on the best ways to tackle sensitive topics ranging from whitewashing to deadnaming. Following on the longtime success of SPJ’s Ethics Hotline, the Race & Gender Hotline is free and confidential.

“This hotline and partnership with the Trans Journalists Association is so important in an industry that isn’t as diverse as it should be because it connects anyone with a question to experts from the LGBTQ and Black communities in a way that benefits everyone,” said Matthew T. Hall, SPJ national president. “The callers are able to earn the trust of the communities they cover by getting stories right, and the experts are being paid for their time so they’re not doing the work of educating journalists for free. If this beta test is successful, I’d love to see this program become bigger and involve even more experts and advocacy groups.”

As for the newly formed Trans Journalists Association, it offers a free and comprehensive style guide, but believes the hotline can help journalists on deadline who need quick answers to their specific questions. SPJ also offers the Diversity Style Guide, which was funded by the SPJ Foundation (formerly Sigma Delta Chi Foundation).

“The need for accurate and thoughtful reporting on the experiences of transgender people has never been greater,” said Gillian Branstetter, TJA co-founder. “No matter your coverage area, new stories are being led by transgender people throughout public life who are challenging assumptions that have exiled and harmed us, while worsening national crises threaten much of the fragile progress trans people have made. We trust this hotline can serve as an accessible resource to help avoid repeating those assumptions and telling new stories about trans people nationwide.”

Experts from SPJ and TJA will answers questions within a few hours of receiving them. The Race & Gender Hotline will compensate its experts for their time through funds from SPJ Region 3 and the Florida Pro Chapter, with plans to expand the program and apply for more funding after the beta test.

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.


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