Since the Royal Examiner’s editorial decision to publish the photograph—but not name—of a minor homicide victim and his brother, the newspaper has been bombarded with hate-mail, calls from readers to boycott, nasty emails with words that would shock some sailors, and more.
To be clear, the boys’ photographs and information about recent events are all over social media—on a fundraising page, on a number of social media pages of the mother’s friends and on the social media pages of former babysitters, to name a few places.
The Royal Examiner chose to use the photo of the boys because we felt it would connect the reader to the issue of child abuse and neglect that often leads to death. A number of other media outlets chose to print the gory, graphic nature of the injuries that the victim endured before he died, but the Royal Examiner felt its readers—and the victims—need not have that information shared.
Mug shots these days are ubiquitous—everyone who gets arrested gets one. Perhaps the community would be better served if newspapers behaved more like big-city television stations and showed mugging victims fresh from the hospital, bandaged up and fearful, instead of the thug in an orange jumpsuit who beat up an innocent victim for no good reason.
Incidentally, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Children and Families Administration on Children, Youth and Families Children’s Bureau reports that in 2015 (the last year for which figures are available) 1,670 children died from abuse or neglect while in the custody of family members.
That figure alone is shocking and something for which any sensible person could muster up some outrage.
The Royal Examiner strives to present accurate, authentic reporting. Approval is appreciated, but it does not dictate how we do our jobs.