Media

Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple responds to criticism about Twittering a child's funeral

Rocky Mountain News editor/publisher/president John Temple.

Rocky Mountain News editor/publisher/president John Temple has offered his first response to the controversy that erupted after his paper assigned a reporter to create real-time posts about the Wednesday funeral of three-year-old Marten Kudlis using the micro-blogging service Twitter. His take can be found at this thread on SportsJournalists.com; it was posted by one of the many site regulars appalled by the decision. As you'll see, Temple doesn't exactly admit that his paper blew it. Instead, he suggests that editors made the right decision in trying to bring an important event to readers in a real-time manner. The only error, apparently, was that the updates weren't better. As a bonus, he even invokes Columbine by way of demonstrating his sensitivity.

No, I'm not making this up -- and don't be surprised if Temple expands on his argument in his regular Saturday column. Until then, click "More" to read his e-mail reply. -- Michael Roberts

I appreciate you taking the time to express your concerns.

Look, I don’t have time to answer in great detail, but I think you’re making a mistake in not differentiating between the execution (yes, some of the updates could have been better) and the idea itself. We don’t attend funerals without permission of the family. We wrote a story for the paper about the funeral. The death of that child was a huge local story. It touched many people. Why not connect with them in real time, as long as we’re not disruptive at the funeral, which we weren’t and wouldn’t be? And by the way, I’m the father of three children. And I’ve covered more tragedy than I could ever have imagined, including the Columbine shootings.

Best,

John Temple

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts