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Oregonian taking a lot of heat from readers for this one. What do you think?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by zachpm, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    This does sound like a Duggar story. Perp is one of nine kids. Homeschooled for a time. Twitter page ominously says "God, Family and Baseball." Mother of the victim says she and the victim have been ostracized because most of the perpetrator's relatives are on his side.
  2. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    We don't have to treat college sports stars like political figures. There is no cosmic law forcing us to do so
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I did a "Where Are They Now?" piece a couple years ago about a former big-time star athlete. He had one sexual assault conviction, which I included in the story. It was news at the time, widely reported. He had another accusation while he was playing in the minor leagues that did not result in charges. It was reported, but not widely. I asked him about it. I obtained the police file on it. I agonized. Ultimately, I didn't include it in the piece.
  4. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    Oregon won back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007. I'd say they've had some pretty damn good attention over the years.

    Apparently, not enough in your neck of the woods, because Oregon State was the back-to-back champion, not Oregon. ;-/
    murphyc likes this.
  5. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Does running any police brief serve the public? Does it matter to the public at large if a paper runs every bank robbery or bar fight?
    Here's why it matters: it's news. Let the public decide what it means to them.
    QYFW and Michael_ Gee like this.
  6. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    I may have missed anything in the pregame but ESPN seems to be pretending it didn't happen, judging from the broadcast.
  7. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    "It's news" isn't an argument, it's begging the question. You're just saying "it's news because it's news, and it's news because it's news." It's an abdication of any ethical code.

    Timely reporting of crimes serves the public interest in letting them know what sort of behavior is going on in their community. See? Police briefs aren't "news because they're news." I came up with a justification why they serve the public interest.

    It would be weird to publish a notification about a bar fight that happened a decade ago because it wouldn't serve a public interest.

    You can probably get there with this story if you want to. But the kneejerk "We have to publish it because it's juicy and we'll just let the public decide" is bullshit and a very bad way to practice journalism.
  8. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    When we invaded Iraq, my editor referred me to a recent vet who offered to talk about his military experience. I went, asked him about his service, his experiences etc.
    A day or two later I get a phone call from his ex-wife's sister saying his daughter was in a local facility because he molested her, which led him to getting drummed out of the service.
    It was a daily article, - a quick and dirty as they were known - no time to do a background check or anything. I apologized to the the woman, saying we didn't know and I was sorry for any pain it caused, she said she didn't want us to pursue any further action, understood where we were coming from, but just wanted us to know.....
  9. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    So out of curiosity, I've checked the Oregon statewide site and the Washington statewide site and the Pierce County, WA registry site and he's nowhere. No hit on the national registry, either.
  10. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    It came up as a "citation" or some such that has since been dismissed. While I believe public records are an invaluable resource in journalism, I really don't think the existence of some public record on its own consists of news and isn't journalism. Health reports on restaurants? Child care violations? Divorce filings? It's lazy and incomplete. About as useful as quoting tweets as a news "source."
    Doc Holliday likes this.
  11. Big Circus

    Big Circus Well-Known Member

    That's a fair point, but it's also worth pointing out that Heimlich's crime wasn't an impulsive act. He had separate incidents two years apart, with a girl who was REALLY young - no possibility of consent there. That's some ugly shit.

    And I'm still not sure how I feel about running the story.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  12. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    Perhaps the most important element of this story is that it proves that at least one Division I program, Oregon State, had never thought to check if recruits were sex offenders. You'd better believe every AD worth his paycheck, golf club membership, new comp car every $10K miles, etc., is putting a policy in place if one does not already exist.
    jlee likes this.
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