May 13, 2011

Houston Press
Editor Richard Connelly says he wanted to show that sex predators don’t always look like slovenly fat guys in t-shirts, and “in an attempt to catch attention (and yes, eyeballs and clicks) I thought of the 10 hottest female sex offenders.” He chose “hottest,” he says, “because it’s a web-headline staple for such listicles.” (The Huffington Post also realized the list was a traffic magnet, and reported on it.) Connelly tells his readers:

I also wrote an over-the-top intro, trusting that the outrageous headline (Anything putting “hottest” near “sex offenders,” I thought, would clearly show over-the-topness) would indicate this was fully intended to shock.

That’s why I made the conscious decision to include the victims’ ages: To show that “normal-looking” people, people you could pass any day on the street — or who you might think are “hot” — are capable of monstrous things.

Glamorizing or trivializing child rape? It did not cross my mind that I was doing that. It should have, it now seems clear.

The weekly got dozens of comments about the list, including this:

You should be fired. That list is disgusting and so is the author. There is nothing about child molestation that should be glorified. I cannot believe this got published and everyone involved should be fired. I pray to God your family never has to endure the messed up torture that is child rape. Sickening.

> Another apology: ESPN says post on Aaron Douglas’s death “did not meet editorial standards”

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From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August…
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