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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Talk with journalist who interviewed Nassar Survivors

“When you read that there were 190 women sexually abused, that’s a number. It is something entirely different to see a young girl with bangs and braces, and someone that fiddles with their necklace and has tears rolling down her cheeks, and is shaking reading her letter.”

Katie Strang is the managing editor at the sports news site “The Athletic.com” She tells me that when Larry Nassar’s trial began, she dropped everything to tell the story from the survivor’s point of view, starting with Rachael DenHollander, the first woman to come forward.

“You know she endured tremendous personal risk and trauma and pain, I think, to share her story. So, it was wonderful to see her get that sort of satisfaction and validation that she got in confronting him.”

I ask Strang how she balanced informing her readers while avoiding voyeurism. And a warning, her response is graphic.

“I can hear sexual abuse and I know it’s bad, but when I hear about a 14-year-old being digitally penetrated in the room with her mother, that means something different to me as a human, as a mother as a journalist.”

Finally, I ask her what should have received more attention in this story than it did.

“What the story will increasingly shift to is the role of the institutions that fail them.”

NOTE: To hear the full conversation between Katie Strang and WGVU’s Mariano Avila, tune in to Mid Day West Michigan Tuesday, January 30 at noon.

Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.
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