I read with interest a recent article by Poynter Institute, a nonprofit journalism organization, entitled, “Not naming mass shooters (much) is now the norm.” It was accompanied by the following tweet from Poynter’s account: “For an industry that is often criticized for being slow to change, this development is remarkable.”
“In a pivot from coverage of years past, the shooter’s name often isn’t mentioned at all,” notes Poynter’s Kelly McBride. “In the small number of stories where journalists deem the name relevant, it usually appears one-third of the way into the story. Suspect names rarely appear in headlines, teasers or tweets.”
The idea behind this is that the media should not give publicity to mass-killers because that is what the killers seek — attention, fame — and doing so can encourage others to copy them.
McBride is careful not to endorse some sort of wholesale media censorship of the names of shooters. But it seems to me we’re getting pretty close to that.
I worry about a bigger picture — that we may be cheering on censorship of public information under the guise of “the public good.”
Read the rest of the article in The Hill by clicking the link below: