Daniel Trotta on Reuters award-winning coverage of transgender issues in the U.S.
This week, Reuters received an Association of LGBTQ Journalists Excellence in Journalism Award. A series of stories on transgender issues in the U.S., by Daniel Trotta, Letitia Stein, Jon Herskovitz, Colleen Jenkins and Daniel Wiessner, was honored in the category for transgender coverage. In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight, Daniel Trotta offers an inside look at the reporting.
Q: How did you and the team get started on this coverage? What were some of our stand-out stories along the way?
A: The U.S. General News editors had identified transgender issues as a priority, so I was fortunate to join an effort already under way when I returned from a posting in Cuba. In one story we revealed that gender identity may develop in children as young as three years old, which was the case for Penelope, now 9, a trans boy who decided to keep his birth name. He was remarkably mature and self-aware for his age.
Q: What types of reporting were used in the coverage?
A: This story has shown off our multimedia capability with great cooperation among different text specialties (notably legal and health), pix, and our video services. The transgender world is small and not all trans people see the media as friendly, so it has required persistence.
Q: What was the hardest part of the reporting?
A: Earning the trust of sources by showing we are educated on the issues and unbiased. The uninitiated always want to know whether transgender people have had surgery even if it is not relevant to the story.
Q: What makes you passionate about journalism?
A: I started working for my local newspaper when I was 14 years old. I love searching for the most interesting events and telling the world about it. I cannot imagine another profession.
Q: What have been your most rewarding and most difficult experiences as a journalist?
A: Covering the Iraq war. I was only there a month and it remains the most intense and memorable month of my life. I have unending respect for our colleagues to cover war full time.