Article’s ‘graphic details’ exploit victim and compromise anonymity

Published by adviser, Author: Shannon Green, Date: November 13, 2014
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To whom it may concern,

Like many others, I am writing to you to express my disgust for the most recent cover story, or rag rather, in the past edition of The Rocket.

As journalists, I understand it is your job to report the news. I agree that the cover story should have been written, as it is something important for students to know about. However, anyone involved in composing the paper, including the editor and faculty advisor exhibited an extreme lack of judgement in including the graphic quote from the criminal complain. One has to ask themselves what value that graph brought to the piece, and I see no reason to include it beyond shock value – which has no business in an article like that.

Slippery Rock is a small community, and by describing the exact injuries the victim had, as well as the graphic details of her sexual assault, you exploited her and compromised her anonymity. This young woman is entitled to her privacy as she is a student, not a public figure. I understand that the information put into the article was public record, but including it makes me question your ethical standards. It doesn’t take a Journalism graduate to know that what you did was wrong.

Put yourself in her shoes; if you were sexually victimized, would you want your story plastered all over campus for everyone to see?

I can only hope that in the future you exercise more restraint when it comes to putting graphic details into your stories. In the meantime, i believe it would be in the best interest of your staff, editors and faculty advisors to issue an apology for the content of the story, as well as edit the article on your online website.

Sincerely,

Shannon Green

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