...Me Either

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Jessie Krehlik's blog entry, I'm not looking forward to this..., made me think about the balance between the rights of the victim's family and the public's right to knowledge.  While I often feel that relevant information about events in people's community should be shared for everyone to see, this section of Haiman's Best Practices for Newspaper Journalists showed that many times, reporters go too far.

I found one passage particularly, and painfully, ironic:

"A woman whose daughter was murdered on her 19th birthday said: 'Our lives became a nightmare. Our yard, our street and neighborhood were suddenly covered with reporters and cameras at all hours for several days. A neighbor told us she had seen a writer actually putting our trash bag in his car and speeding away. They put our family finances in the paper, which was totally irrelevant in the murder of our daughter.'"

While it is likely that this quote that the author used was taken out of context, it does seem like the woman is saying that the real tragedy were the events that followed her daughter's murder.  Even if that isn't what she was trying to convey, the injustice done to the memory of the murder victim and her family is still there.  While they may be the subject of your news-story, these people are still human, and there are boundaries between what is your duty and what is distasteful.

Original Assignment

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