Earlier this year, The Fresno Bee published a months-long series on teen pregnancy and sex education in the area.
It was an obvious hot topic and did not come without backlash.
That was mainly felt by the reporter, Mackenzie Mays, whose first-person account of putting the project together (and dealing with the fallout) was posted Friday on Glamour under the headline “How One Reporter Got an Entire City Talking About Sex Education.”
“Sex education is often so infused with politics and religion that it isn’t addressed the same way as other measures used to combat health epidemics affecting young people,” Mays wrote.
“It is such an emotional topic that I found myself, a messenger in the middle of the storm, having my entire career called to task – all for reporting the truth.”
She was attacked on Twitter (#fakenews, #MinistressOfPropaganda) and talk radio. There were threats of legal action and calls for retractions.
So, yes, the response to the project has become a story in itself.
It was well-chronicled (with legal arguments and all) by the Columbia Journalism Review. Writers from the Center for Health Journalism saw it as an example of the growing hostility to the Fourth Estate and likened it to the tactics used by the Trump administration.
“These strong reactions remind me exactly why I wanted to write about this topic,” Mays wrote in Glamour.
“Ignoring things doesn’t make them go away.”
You can read Mays’ full series here.