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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Woman Profiled By Newspaper Commits Suicide

UPDATE #2  Newspaper continues to defend story, says they held it for a few weeks, looked for signs of suicide, then got okay from the woman.

UPDATE:  The newspaper's managing editor has now written a letter to staffers hailing them for their work on the story about the woman.   While I hate to make too much of cause-and-effect, the argument that she had attempted suicide three times earlier, while significant, doesn't explain fact that this time she went through with it--and it was the day after the story appeared.  Coincidence only?

Earlier:  Questions being asked tonight after news emerges that a woman with a rare disorder was featured in the major Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times) killed herself last weekend a day after the piece appeared.  Some say they only profiled her because of the nature of her malady:  "genital arousal disorder." Romenesko covers here.  The paper claims she "welcomed" the coverage, and she had attempted suicide three times in the past year.  But:
Blogger and frequent Tampa Bay Times critic Peter Schorsch contends “the Times is partially responsible for what has happened.” He writes: “The moment I read this story I questioned why it was being published by the Times, other than the story’s obvious ability to drive readership and online traffic...
“No matter how good the writing, no matter how interesting the subject matter, a story about a woman ‘who must masturbate for hours for just a few minutes of relief’ did not belong in a mainstream newspaper.”

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