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Coptalk: “standard journalism procedure”

April 3, 2012
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NPR reported Sunday that the suspect in the mass murder in California was Asian. Under comments to the npr.org story, I asked why NPR did that. One thoughtful comment to my comment said that to cite police reports was a “standard journalism procedure.” Again—but this time of you, FGCUMMC2604—I ask, “why?” Students in Kenney’s recitations need to be prepared to discuss that in recitations this week.

Hector Pranis (foolsonthehill) wrote:

Rick,
NPR mentioned the police description of the prime suspect. It is standard police procedure to do this and it is standard journalism procedure to report what the police say.

April 2, 2012 7:21:47 PM EDT

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Geoffrey Stephens permalink
    April 3, 2012 11:25 am

    When reading up on the story and Dr.K’s comment and then what Mr. Foolsonthehill said I have a mixed view on the situation. First off, I cannot take whatever Mr. Foolsonthehill stated as solid, and backed up information. Even if he stated he was a police officer, or journalist it would be tough to go on what an guy says when he puts himself as “FOOLsonthehill.” If ya want creditability to your comment on a blog, don’t put the word fool in your title.
    My mixed take is due to what I have learned and know so far. I do agree with the fool on the hill that it would be standard police procedure to report race and ethnicity, but not standard by any means for journalism procedure. I don’t see much of a need to report race or ethnic background unless the act itself was due to a ethnic or racial issue or difference. Race or ethnicity may also be reported if the paper or publication was trying to catch or find the person who did it. For instance, if the guy who did the killings was on the run I see it as very necessary to report that he is an asian male, etc. Also like mentioned if the man went on a killing spree due to racial or ethnic indifference or problems, then maybe. For instance, if the asian man killed others since he was a strong follower of asian ways and wanted to kill those who didn’t follow them as well.
    The delicate balance with Journalism can be seen here to me very much. I will look into it, but don’t actually know what the standard journalist procedure is with this issue of mentioning race, etc. in a report. My best hypothesis is that it should not be mentioned unless it had to do with why things went down. This because of the fact that other Asian people out there could take offense, or it put a bad image to Asians when not necessary.

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