Caleb Hannan, the author of Grantland’s infamous Dr. V story, spoke about the story publicly at a journalism panel. Contrite and self-critical, he pointed out that both his wife and a Grantland fact checker had raised concerns about the human implications of the piece.
“Some of the first words out of her mouth were, ‘There’s a chance this woman is going to hurt herself,’ and I said, ‘I know and I’m scared shitless, and I don’t know what to do,’ and she said, ‘Okay I just want to make sure I said that.’ And that’s a conversation I immediately should have taken to my editor, but I didn’t.”
Hannan was honest about why he decided to ignore those concerns and not raise them to editors.
“There’s this idea that it’s not going to happen to me. There is a momentum to a story that’s hard to stop. … It would have been a blow to my ego to set aside something I knew was going to be talked about. But I should have.”
Hannan raises a salient point, in the wake of the Gawker outing. Journalism does not absolve someone from the human fallout of what he or she writes. Often, the higher cause served is not “the craft” or “the public interest,” but one’s own ego.