Communications and Society blog: By and for students in Marist COM 201

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This won’t influence your opinion one bit.

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I assume that, like me, you’re horrified, disgusted, and saddened by the  murder of Annie Le at Yale University.  What is a senseless and brutal crime became even more heartbreaking when her body was found on her wedding day.   Of course, we all hope her murderer is found and “brought to justice”, as they say.

Police attention has centered on a  lab technician named Ray Clark, and following reports that search warrants have been served, the press has followed en masse.   In this day and age, that means journalists (and any curious person with an internet connection) start hunting down the Facebook and other social networking sites, blogs, and other traces that Clark,  like many of us, has left online.

“Innocent until proven guilty” is a quaint but attractive idea we keep holding on to in this country.  In theory, that should guide the media, too; for example, for legal and ethical reasons, journalists know well enough to use the term “alleged” until a suspect is convicted, no matter how clear the case may be.  False accusations can harm people, after all.  It should also guide what parts of an innocent person’s online life, writings and images included, get used by the media to make their stories, and how they use them.

There hasn’t even been an arrest in the Annie Le case, just the naming of a “person of interest.”   And now here’s the New York Daily News, apparently having done their Google searching on Clark, offering many people their first image of him.  You might call it an irresponsible choice of photographs for the article.  I certainly would.

EDIT:  The Daily News picture and story after that link aren’t the same as they were last night when I wrote this post.  Here’s the image of Clark that they chose to run, which I found irresponsible – what do you think?

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Written by michaelhkoch

September 16, 2009 at 4:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

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