June 24, 2021

A Top Editor Becomes Her ‘True Self’

At a time when transgender issues are regularly in the news, with a recent flood of bills being introduced in mostly Republican-led states that aim to restrict transgender rights, Ms. Chua said her own experience had led her to think more deeply about how the media covers stories like hers.

“You have to be careful who your sources are,” Ms. Chua said. “There are organizations who purport to speak for one side or the other and they are not the right ones, even if they are the loudest ones.”

While there are no statistics on how many American journalists identify as L.G.B.T.Q., an industry body that represents them has more than 1,000 members, while the relatively new Trans Journalists Association counts about 400 members.

Ms. Chua warned of the danger of portraying trans people or those in minority communities as victims, rather than people “as fully fleshed out as they would be in any other story.”

Her friends are seeing her fully fleshed out in her own life, too.

“I loved her before, but there’s just this extra level of comfort now,” said Anya Schiffrin, a media scholar at Columbia who first met Ms. Chua in Southeast Asia in the early 1990s. Ms. Schiffrin said she was delighted Ms. Chua was willing to talk about her experiences.

“All of this talking about her personal life and her feelings is really a new thing for all of us,” she said, adding: “We have a few friends whose kids are transitioning, and she’s said she’s happy to talk to them.”

As New York City continues to reopen, Ms. Chua is preparing for a return to the Reuters office in July amid significant changes: A new job and a new public identity. It will require some adaptation — a skill she sees as necessary for the media business as a whole.

“We’re getting closer to rethinking what stories are about, who they are for, or what matters,” she said. “And I think that’s driven in some part by the audience changing and the way stories are being distributed. There are many more avenues for people to call out stories that they feel are lacking.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/04/business/media/reuters-editor-gina-chua.html

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