November 05, 2003

Naming Names: Gotcha

Jeffrey Rodack, managing editor of the Globe, which printed the name and leggy prom photo of Kobe Bryant's accuser, responds to a column by Poynter faculty member Kelly McBride, who urged newspapers to not "follow the Globe," with his own Poynter column, which lambastes newspaper editors for applying 1950s morality to 2003 news gathering.

I'm not so sure about that and I've already had my say on this case, arguing here against the virtual "blue dot" and agreeing here with Geneva Overholser, who says "In the crime of rape, it is time we named the accuser as well as the accused."

Rodack's outrage at the timidity of mainstream journalists might be more persuasive were it not the for the unabashed avarice of his and other check-out counter tabs, but his column does deliver, as any tabloid should, a good gotcha paragraph.

He catches McBride inadvertently convicting Bryant with this statement:

"There is still no justification for journalists to deviate from the standard practice of granting this particular woman anonymity along with millions of other rape victims."

"Other rape victims?" says Rodack. " She is not -- at least for now. She is someone accusing a man of rape "

He's right on that one. Bryant is a suspect in a sexual assault case. And, as Bill Walsh, copy chief of the Washington Post's national desk says on his editing blog, The Slot, "Suspect means "person suspected of committing a crime" in English, even if it means "criminal" to the police (if you're into that whole innocent-until-proven-guilty thing, it's best not to think too much about that)."

Yeah, I'm into that innocent-until-proven-guilty thing.

Links
 Jeffrey Rodack Globe Defends Decision to Publish Photo, Name of Kobe Accuser
 Kelly McBride Tabloid Publishes Prom Picture of Kobe's Accuser

Posted by Tim Porter at November 5, 2003 07:55 AM