Saturday, February 27, 2010


" The identifications of the two sailors were withheld pending notification of next of kin."
"pending notification of next of kin" is standard news-writing boilerplate =
One argument against this:
There may be examples on Google news, but I believe in Florida, where public records law requires this information be released, this is just lazy reporting. Unless someone is still in danger or they are secret special operation soldiers or killed in active military operations, the reporter should be able to get the names and I believe the paper should publish them.

Dr. R's Response:
I am not sure this is true – police do not have to release anything until the case is complete – and they would argue it is not complete until kin are notified. And ethically, as a journalist, you would go ahead and i.d. the dead before their families were officially notified? How would you like to read about the death of a loved one from the media?
I believe at its essence, journalistic ethics boils down to the dictum followed by the medical profession: 


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