Jan 7, 2013

MMMM #257 --- Penn State Jr.?

      The longtime practice of most media not to name juveniles who are charged with crimes is taking a beating in Ohio.
      A rape case in Steubenville has been all over the media, both social and mass.
      Two High School football players are charged with raping an unconscious sixteen year old female student. There are allegations that other players were also involved, and that the town is protecting the boys because of the football culture that pervades the town,
      Writes USA Today about a website launched by the city police over the weekend:

The site names the two 16-year-old boys charged in the case, who were arrested Aug. 22 and spent more than two months in juvenile detention. A judge put them under house arrest Nov. 1, according to the city.
       CNN reported:
Although the teenagers are juveniles, CNN is identifying them because they have been publicly named by a juvenile court judge, by defense attorneys and in media accounts. CNN is not identifying the girl, who also is a juvenile, in accordance with its policy not to release the names of alleged rape victims.

     The naming of the suspects in open court gave the media the excuse to  use the names. NBC has been naming the boys, but refusing to show their faces on-air. That's splitting an already fine hair even finer. Think it will be difficult for anyone to find pics of the football players online?
     We in the media protect juvenile suspects because of the belief that they are young enough to have a true chance at rehabilitation. The naming of the two presumed innocent boys in Ohio will make it difficult, if not impossible, for them to get through life if they are acquitted.

[PLUS: 60 Minutes last night featured a segment on The Times-Picayune in New Orleans going to a three-day-a-week publishing schedule. That's a story line lots of Alabama residents are familiar with. The three largest papers in our state---owned by the same company as the New Orleans paper---went to the same reduced schedule the same day last Fall. It is an interesting segment, which you can watch online, but I wish Morley Safer had not misused the word literally. They said the newspaper literally went through hell and high water covering Katrina. The paper did a great job, and won a Pulitzer for their efforts, and I am confident their staff stood in deep water and covered fires, but Hades was much beyond their beat.]

[The Monday Morning Media Memo is a regular feature of TimLennox.com]

1 comment:

Jay Croft said...

I saw the same program last night and winced, too, at his use of the word "literally."

Jay the spell-checker, proof-reader and general factotum.