Recent events in the sex blogging community have highlighted just how much caution one should exercise when talking to or dealing with the press. The national press in particular is infamous for distorting the truth in an attempt to sell stories through either scandal, provocative subjects, images which are ‘share-worthy’ on the web, or headlines which probably don’t even vaguely resemble the original story.
Working and blogging in such a sensitive and already overly misinformed area of life as sexuality and the sex industry, it’s very disappointing on a personal level that someone who believes themselves to be in the same field would choose to naively speak to national press and not ensure they had full rights over what is published. It is perhaps too easy to believe that the facts alone would be published without any bias. One would hope that these ‘stories’ are reported for the purposes of education of people, rather than being motivated by trying to find a short-cut to fame, which so often sadly back-fires.
When one of our sex blogging or sexual education community takes that trip to the press, unfortunately it’s not just themselves they are representing. It’s the entire community. Any stories can be used to purport long held misinformed notions about sex bloggers, sex toys, even sex itself – about which many of us are working tirelessly to overturn negative attitudes. Motives may be good and pure, but the end result in the papers can be very different to those intentions. In the press’ desperate attempt to sell papers and gain website traffic, negativity and scandal could be the overwhelming tone of the story, which should be in direct conflict with any desire to be sex positive and a helpful sex educator.
Having been approached by the press on many occasions, I can quite honestly say that I haven’t been happy with the way that any journalist wanted to proceed with ‘the story’ (as they called it) as yet. I also have children, so there are even more issues to be vigilant about. One journalist went so far as to make handing over my children’s names and photographs one of the stipulations for appearing in a national paper. Of course, I quickly declined.
If you do wish to appear nationally in whatever medium – newspaper, high ranking news website, on the television or the radio – perhaps it would be best to seek advice from others within the community first. Get their opinions on what issues they consider in need of a wider coverage. Which statements are best avoided? Which sentiments could easily be misconstrued – either accidentally or more likely, on purpose – by the press?
Above all, what is the reason for trying to take your viewpoint further afield than your own blog, social media and even the adult industry press? Is it really to highlight sexual education and positive sexuality issues to the general public, or is there a less benevolent reason such as wanting to see yourself in the papers, perhaps at the cost of the reputation of all the other sex bloggers and sex educators out there?
On balance, if you’re a sex blogger or see yourself as a sex educator, would you ever talk to a journalist in the national press – whether to sell your story or even receiving no money for your thoughts whatsoever?
– Cara Sutra