Disappointed in court coverage
September 2, 2010
I must say that I am very disappointed with your current mode of “sensationalism” reporting. This is a very close-knit community (as you should know) and everything you report on -including the way you report it – impacts individuals here in our hometown.
I understand the aspects of free speech and the public’s right to know, however the way you chose disseminate the information is just as important. Several times now I have seen articles with the headlines in enormous fonts (compared to neighboring articles) proclaiming the terrible deeds of the accused. In these instances I happen to know two of those accused young men.
Why is it that these articles are always written by Staff Reports? Is it the awareness that the articles are a bit over the top – and none of your reporters wants to be acknowledged (or condemned) as the writer? Why are you so quick to portray them as sexual predators when if you knew the facts (and actually reported them), you might understand they made the mistakes that kids have been making for generations? Can you honestly look back on your own youth and find nothing that you did back then which might land you in legal woes today?
These two young men have been well-mannered, contributing and participating members of our community. I have had the pleasure of getting to know one of them over the past year through my employment and have always enjoyed following your positive articles on his sports achievements through the years. As for the other young man, I had the opportunity to get to know him through chaperoning events he was involved with in his high school days and have also known him as the son of good friends of mine.
I don’t deny that they have made mistakes – mistakes that they will be living with and trying to rectify for quite some time – but I truly believe the most grievous mistake has occurred in the methods your paper has employed while reporting on these situations.
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By reporting in this sensational fashion, you have decimated their ability to own up to the errors they’ve made and move on with their lives. In addition, you’ve severely impacted the lives of their family members above and beyond what is necessary or appropriate.
Your paper really needs to reconsider what it reports on and how it does it. This is far too small of an area to be irresponsible with the information you publish. Start looking at the big picture – will the information benefit your readership or just cause discord? Is your aim to provide our citizenry with information and news or just to promote stories of a tabloid nature? Please consider the effect you have on the people you are reporting on as well as the public opinion created by your paper.