Tampa Bay Times editor: We’re proud of the work our journalists did on the Gretchen Molannen story

There’s been a lot of discussion on this site and on my Facebook wall about the woman with a rare genital arousal disorder who committed suicide the day after the Tampa Bay Times posted its feature about her.

Times managing editor Mike Wilson sends this email (I added the links) about the reporting of the story and the woman’s death:

We are all saddened by Gretchen Molannen’s tragic decision to take her own life. Reporter Leonora LaPeter Anton and visual journalist Eve Edelheit are taking it particularly hard because they came to know Gretchen during their reporting and empathized deeply with her, as evidenced by the sensitive story and video they produced.

Mike Wilson

You asked in the blog item whether we routinely read stories to sources before they are published. No, we don’t. Leonora did so in this case, with our approval, because of the extremely personal nature of the story. Gretchen was invited to give feedback, but she understood that we alone would decide whether to make any changes. (We ended up making a couple of small ones that she asked for.) As we reported in the story about her death, she sent Leonora an email thanking her for her time, patience and interest.

Our news story describes the great care Leonora took in reporting the story, so I won’t repeat those details here. But I will tell you that we are proud of the mature and thoughtful work our journalists did in bringing Gretchen’s story to light. We can’t know all of the complex factors that led Gretchen to the awful choice she made. But we hope and believe that her story will help other men and women who quietly suffer from similar conditions.

* Hamilton Nolan: Life causes suicide, newspaper features don’t (gawker.com)
* Read the comments about the Times’ story and the woman’s suicide (jimromenesko.com)