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In response to a question about whether victims' or readers' concerns influenced the Post's guidelines, editor Greg Moore e-mailed the following answer: "We have had some people publicly suggest we not name alleged mass murderers and not publish their photos. We understand that sentiment and have printed those sentiments before. At the same time, those are facts, and acting as if they don't exist is an arbitrary stance that changes nothing.... But readers have influenced our decisions about how we play photos of alleged mass murderers and things like that."

The Associated Press, the worldwide news agency known for its style guidelines, has also been covering the case. Denver bureau chief Jim Clarke says the AP's policy is to "report the news fairly and accurately." A suspect's name and photo are newsworthy, he says: "The name of somebody arrested for the crime, that person's identity, is a crucial part of the story."

At Westword, editor Patricia Calhoun says the policy is that if we're writing about someone accused of a crime, we use his or her name because it's part of the historic record.

Kelly McBride, who specializes in media ethics for the Poynter Institute, says the media has three jobs when it comes to covering a mass tragedy: chronicle what happened; hold authorities and those who could have prevented it accountable; and tell the stories of the people involved. That includes the alleged perpetrator, she says.

"It's really easy to dismiss these people as monsters," McBride says. But doing so doesn't help explain what happened, or didn't happen, to allow a person to commit mass murder.

McBride believes there's a reasonable middle ground between using a suspect's name and photo in every story and never using it at all. Completely censoring his identity isn't the answer, she says. "When we stop naming something, we give it power over us."

But local media outlets should also be sensitive to the fact that their audience has to live with the horror of what happened every day, unlike people reading or watching national news outlets in other states. "We in the national audience talk about Columbine as an icon," she says. "But the people who live there, they talk about Columbine as this moment that their community was ripped apart.... Journalism plays a really important role in allowing the community to have conversations and chronicling that pain and suffering."

As for Teves, he concedes that understanding how and why a person indiscriminately kills strangers is useful in preventing another massacre, and he knows that reporters play a role in unearthing that information. But he doesn't think journalists must print a killer's name to explain his motivations. Doing so makes the media partly to blame for the next tragedy, he says.

"If I'm 20 percent right, then between Sandy Hook and Aurora, you have the bodies of four people on your hands," he says about the media.

And even if he's wrong, Teves doesn't see the harm in finding out for sure. "What's the danger in trying my idea?" he asks. "Have some moral courage, show leadership, take ownership and be what you're supposed to be, which is the most ethical people in our society.... You have to get your editors and producers to sign up, too. Tell them not to be such big babies."

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34 comments
Jeremy Coss
Jeremy Coss

Yes, they should. All it does is glorify the killer and give him notoriety. This is why more crazies are coming out. They want their names to be mentioned and everyone to know who they are.

Christopher Fish
Christopher Fish

When the story first broke about this douche bag I contacted my friends at 9News and asked them to stop using his image and his name. Thankfully they did. There is NO reason to give him the fame he was/is so desiring.

Teresa McGlohorn
Teresa McGlohorn

I think you should take is gd picture off. I don't want to see it, and Heidi Soudani, does not want to see it. That is what that psycho wants! GET IT OFF!!!

Roberta J Repasz
Roberta J Repasz

I believe that each of us has to be sensible & responsible. I, also, believe the general populace needs to be informed of the facts of such a terrible event and the perp., as well. The perp., however, should not have the ability to profit from his/her actions.

Dennis Scott
Dennis Scott

Nonsense. As long as the media is reporting facts they should just report the facts. Any form of censorship of the facts is fatal to an informed public and democracy. That the facts may be sensitive to some is understandable but is not a reason to censor any part of the facts. Period.

Che Harness
Che Harness

yes and no. fame is fleeting and people are forgetful. his "fame" is being used politically and monetarily and will be replaced at some point and he will be forgotten. Which is kind of sad because we will continue to put out quick feel-good measures, like gun control, that have no hope of solving the problems of violence in our country.

Dan Goble
Dan Goble

Show his photo after he is put down- other then that he has had his 15 min.

Brad Aerts
Brad Aerts

It seems as if your calling for copycats

Naomi Wolinsky
Naomi Wolinsky

in true WW fashion, stirring up the shit from the bottom of the pot.

Schittphaiç Magü
Schittphaiç Magü

Right, because in the minds of some overly sensitive jerkoffs, mere reporting equates to "glamorization." *rolling of eyes*

Schittphaiç Magü
Schittphaiç Magü

The media doesn't have to turn these killers into celebrities. There are many other antisocial, underachieving middle-class suburbanite Internet dweebs out there to ensure that theses killers' names live forever in infamy.

Deborah Watts
Deborah Watts

I believe James introduced himself to me, when we worked at the Pepsi center last year. HELLO!

Terry Richardson
Terry Richardson

Fuck you, westword. This question should've been asked months ago. If y'all were a good news source, you wouldn't have to ask this. Just take the lead and not show this idiot. But that's not how the westword operates.

Marc Babel
Marc Babel

Freedom of information. It will never happen.

Dan Brown
Dan Brown

Yes. The public has a right to know, but we also have a right to not have our infantile homicidal maniacs turned into media celebrities.

Bernard Saujon
Bernard Saujon

Will someone off this guy already so we don't have to see or hear about him anymore. I still do not understand why our hard earned money goes to keeping people like this alive.

Ryan Dearth
Ryan Dearth

So I guess Westword falls on the side that they should use this guy's photo and name as much as possible in order to drive traffic? That story read as though every major news source in Denver thinks perpetrators names' and photos should only be used when necessary in a story about that person. Yet, Ww does this story about journalistic ethics and the photo they've attached? James Holmes of course!

Terence Hayden
Terence Hayden

Yes. No more naming or images at all- got it! No start doing it Westword.

Gina Pietramale
Gina Pietramale

No. There's this thing called "Reporting the News." Good luck doing that without all the facts.

Ted Peterson
Ted Peterson

And yes, Westword, you are just asking the question. But grow some balls and maybe take a stance and NOT show photos. Hashtag newshypocracy.

Ted Peterson
Ted Peterson

Media outlets are getting just as much attention with these sorts of articles as what they are challenging. Makes me think of Rush Limbaugh's tactics... "I'm just asking questions!"

skylinkdave
skylinkdave

I won't share this because it contains the perpetrator's name and photo.

Jacob Morgan
Jacob Morgan

Yes. To much emphasis is placed on the killer and less on the victims and community. Notoriety leads to copycats as well.

Heather Curnett
Heather Curnett

Yes, yes & yes! It's not about those sick bastards. James Holmes is still everywhere. Why? Give us facts & be done with him. He is not worthy of glorification. The facts can be reported without continuing to put his name & face out there. Westword, take note please.

Fraudcop
Fraudcop

On the day that this horrible incident occured, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates made a couple of media releases to the hordes of reporters gathered at the scene.  On one briefing, Chief Oates gave additional information and said that the police department was not releasing the photograph of the suspect, Holmes, for investigative reasons.  A copy of a photo of him on an identification badge had been released several hours earlier by the University of Colorado Medical Center.  As I was watching the briefing on CNN, the INSTANT that Chief Oates said the PD would not be releasing the photo, the screen went into a split image, with the chief on one side and the CU photo of Holmes on the other.  Someone at CNN had his finger on the button to make this happen and was just waiting for the appropriate moment to show the chief that CNN didn't care about what the chief said about the photo and that they were going to do what they wanted.  What CNN did was clearly intentional.  The words to Don Henley's song "Dirty Laundry" fit the media like a glove.

Peace Will Win
Peace Will Win

you mean are you responsible for this partly? yes.

thetrainer090
thetrainer090

I see that even after people are saying to stop showing his picture and saying his name. The media is still doing it. His picture comes up on every page of this article. They media really doesn't care what the public thinks. they are going to print and say what they want.

thetrainer090
thetrainer090

I see that even after people are saying to stop showing his picture and saying his name. The media is still doing it. His picture comes up on every page of this article. They media really doesn't care what the public thinks. they are going to print and say what they want.

 
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