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Times Editor Chris Lopez's weblog

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ethical decision

The question came up in editing this story on the murder of Terrance Kelly whether we should publish the names of the minors who testified before a grand jury investigating the homicide. It was purely an ethical decision about whether or not to publish the names of the juveniles who testified before the grand jury. The grand jury transcripts themselves revealed the names and, as a result, the names are part of the public record. I made the decision not to publish the names of the juveniles testifying in this homicide investigation because I didn't think these kids needed the exposure in the newspaper. Anyone who wants to know which juveniles testified before the grand jury in this case can read the transcripts for themselves. Their names are part of the public documents in this case. We didn't get a copy of the grand jury transcripts because it would have cost us around $400 to get a copy from Contra Costa County, and we're just as well off having had our courts reporter, Bruce Gerstman, read them, make detailed notes and write his story off his notes. There also isn't an electronic link to the grand jury transcripts that we could provide, unfortunately. There are no easy answers on when to publish and when not to publish the names of juveniles when it relates to a crime story. Circumstances change from case to case.


Blogger Darnell Clayton said...

Hey! The MSM actually does have a conscience! That is good to see!

You made the right decision there. You have one fan in the blogosphere. ;)


Is there a way for you to remove the "pop ups" on your site? They are rather annoying and make me want to "hate" whatever is selling on the ad. Thanks!

8:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Lopez, Times Editor said...

I hate pop ups, too. I raise the issue again with Knight Ridder Digital.

9:04 AM  

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