Inside the ‘Outlaw’ project: Collaboration, bias awareness and fairness

OutLaw Insider Photo Featured Image

(KXAN) — How do you cover a story when you’re part of it? For LGBTQ+ journalists at KXAN, the record number of bills filed at the Texas State Capitol in 2023 restricting their community brought concerns – and presented an opportunity.

After thorough discussion among newsroom leaders, we decided to lean into the informed, well-sourced reporting those journalists could offer, launching our sixth “Catalyst” investigative project to date. Knowing the topic was already highly-politicized and often emotional in legislative hearings and beyond, we wanted to take a multi-platform, extensive look – and produce it in a way our audience would know we are striving to maintain objectivity and fairness.

It started with a broad look at the legislation proposed and analyzing the background, influence and outcome of each bill we focused our reporting around. Some measures passed, others progressed further than ever before. As our investigators tried to track down details on the players behind these policies, we also worked with our LGBTQ+ journalists – reporters, data analysts, photographers – to ensure complete, accurate reporting. We wanted to show how our closeness to the subject was actually a benefit – one we could maintain with an approach that addressed any perceived bias.

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