The Associated Press will change how they report on petty crimes. Journalism professors Maggie Jones Patterson and Romayne Smith Fullerton tell us why that’s a big deal for social justice.
How many times have you seen the local nightly TV news, internet feed or blog lead off with an attention-grabbing headline about a suspect in a lurid crime? Almost invariably, the news report includes a police mug shot of the alleged perpetrator, with their name and city of residence. But, how often do you see the follow-up story, where the police release the suspect, the DA declines to press charges or the accused is found not guilty by a court? Those stories, if published or broadcast at all, are typically buried. With the internet now permanently archiving all news stories — those initial, erroneous stories can gain new life to haunt alleged suspects years later. The Associated Press recently changed its editorial guidance to keep the names of suspects out of the news until they are proven guilty. Joining us now to discuss this further is Maggie Jones Patterson, a professor of Journalism at Duquesne University. Also joining us is Associate Professor, Information and Media Studies at Western University Romayne Smith Fullerton.