The Islands’ Sounder recently published a letter to the editor criticizing their coverage of the recent, disturbing child exploitation case that occurred in our county. Upon reading the letter to the editor, I went back and read the original article just to make sure I had read it with a critical eye for “bad reporting.”
What I walked away with was a sense that Colleen and staff at the Sounder had taken the time to thoroughly digest the police report and provided the information in said reports with clear (albeit disturbing) clarity. I found no evidence of judgment on the part of the reporter, simply a well laid out account of the situation as it exists at this point in time.
The author of the editorial letter seems to take the stance that the paper should shade the details to somehow obscure the exposure to the accused – that the release of relevant, otherwise publicly available details is inappropriate. On that point I adamantly disagree.
Details of the crimes outlined in the article are ugly. They are difficult. Frankly, they are hard to read. But above all, they are critical. Crimes such as these – alleged or otherwise – happen in the dark. They are traded in the dark and they exist underneath otherwise normal conditions. By releasing critical details, media and law-enforcement give all of us a chance to examine our otherwise “normal” interactions. Often in cases such as this, these details help victims to identify as such and bring their own experiences to light.
I, for one, would like to thank the Sounder staff for publishing the article that they wrote. Our media should not treat issues such as this with either favorable or unfavorable coverage but instead relay the facts on the record.
Thank you to the Islands’ Sounder for a well written and necessary piece of journalism.