Friday, October 20, 2006

Daily explains decision not to name teen shooter

In a column posted early this morning, Joplin Daily Editor John Hacker explains the news outlet's decision not to publish the name of the Joplin Memorial Middle School teen shooter:

It also didn't take long for our education reporter, Kaylea Hutson, to find out the shooter was a 13-year-old Memorial student, and to confirm several bits of information about this student, including his name and address. The police told us they were searching a house at a certain address on Gray Avenue, and the boy's attorney, Charles Lonardo, started speaking in his defense the next day.

We, at JoplinDaily.com, have seen other news outlets in the area publish this boy's name. We have decided not to, at least as long as he remains charged under the juvenile system.

It may seem like a pointless gesture, especially since federal charges have been leveled against his father, meaning that man's name is out in the public record, but we have made the ethical decision not to name this boy as long as his case remains in the juvenile court system.


The opposite decision, of course, was reached by most other area media outlets, but it is refreshing to know that such decisions are not taken lightly.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

John Hacker may have no sense of how to match his clothes, but his ethical standards are without reproach. It is refreshing to see a man of such integrity holding the high ground in this instance.

Anonymous said...

What took so long? Perhaps Hacker should have included an editor's note after the first day. He made the right decision, but without explanation, it just made it appear the Daily didn't have the information. As far as his fashion sense goes, he's no T. Robb Brown, now that guy, tres magnifique!

Anonymous said...

Hacker's logic on this issue is as disheveled as his appearance. The Daily did an excellent job covering the incident, but made the wrong decision by not naming the child.

Hacker's column failed to say whether the Daily even considered publishing the name and whether they saw any advantages in identifying the teen. He also was silent about who was involved in making the decision. Did he make the call alone or with advice from his reporters and publisher? And, under what circumstances, if ever, would the Daily report the name?

Anonymous said...

Does JoplinDaily actually have a publisher? If so, he/she certainly keeps a very low profile! And such person definitely wouldn't let Hacker go out in the public with such a wardrobe malfunction as we are accustomed to seeing.

Anonymous said...

Missouri law changed last year where juveniles are concerned. Missouri law allows the release of a juvenile's names when they are charged with certain crimes. In this case, the juvenile has been charged with crimes that allow his name to be released. Regardless of what the Associated Press reports, or any other entity, his name is public record. Anyone can attend his hearings. Anyone can get a copy of the charges.

And since when does it matter whether a newspaper reporter dresses like a million bucks? He or she are not on camera. As long as their personal hygiene is good and they behave professionally, who cares what they wear?

Anonymous said...

If the person the reporter is interviewing bursts out in laughter at what the reporter is wearing, then it matters. This is part of the reporter's credibility.

Anonymous said...

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. This is the same Missouri that instituted term limits a decade ago, and how's that worked out for everyone. The "it's-law-so-we-can-do-whatever" argument is fascist. Cheers to Hacker and crew for not naming the kid. Jeers for not explaining sooner (and clearer) and wearing "I (heart) McDonald County" belt buckles. We kid because we love. But seriously Hacker watch some Bravo sometime.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Hacker's gay, so why would he want to watch Bravo?

Anonymous said...

Just for the record: I am not gay.

Anonymous said...

You forgot the "not that there's anything wrong with that" addendum. Don't go alienating a large segment of your potential readers and advertisers Johnny Cakes. Joplin has one of the highest gay and lesbian populations per capita in the country. Besides, you can watch Bravo for fashion tips, not sex advice. I would have suggested Animal Planet for that.

Anonymous said...

That Joplin has one of the highest gay and lesbian populations per capita in the country is an urban legend. In fact, the complete opposite is true. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

About the only thing that Joplin has concerning "highest per capita" is fastfood restaurants!