JOURNALISM 101 FORUM

My post yesterday on my problem as owner of Park Cities People with the decision made by the editors of Park Cities People has stirred considerable reaction from the FB Nation. I am posting excerpts of three of yesterday’s correspondents, each of whom disagrees with one or the other of my positions. By the way, those who agreed with me were all non-journalists; those who disagreed were mostly journalists. (Maybe there’s a hint in there why people don’t like journalists, but that’s another issue.) For those of you who have inadvertantly let your subscriptions to Texas’s best weekly newspaper lapse or whose dog ate your copy, here is the story. The responses to my post follow:

“Tim is correct in saying that if she is 18, PCP has the right to print her name in the story. She is legally an adult and is subject to adult punishment for her alleged infraction. The fact that she is still in high school simply is not relevant. I understand your point, but the logic just is not there to back it up. I agree and applaud your decision that PCP should not have included her father’s name in the story. Stick with the approach that she is an adult and she allegedly committed a crime, or however you want to phrase it. Unless her father was charged with providing the alcohol to the underage drinkers, he’s not relevant and your comments only show that you would have preferred PCP to take the journalistic high road.”

“Whatever one’s stance on underage drinking might be, you have to admit that fifty teenagers drinking – figure a third of them are driving a car that night – is pretty scary. The embarrassment the offending parents might feel from having their names published might inspire other area parents to keep a tighter leash on their kids, if not in the name of keeping the kids alive, at least for the sake of avoiding public humiliation.”

“As a former crime reporter with Knight-Ridder and the Startlegram, I’ve come across many cases like this one: brats of famous people getting into trouble. Here’s my take, for what’s it’s worth: 1. She is 18–and it’s open season on her, whether she graduated from high school or not, lives with her parents, or not. 2. Jim Moroney is a public figure. Thus, saying she is Moroney’s daughter is legit. (Now, I know this is the most debatable point and we could probably debate forever.)”

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