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No fun for me either...
January 14, 2009 - Jennifer Brookens
Being in charge of the courts/police beat, I usually get the heads up on the gossip and who's been naughty. A lot of us at the office get a chuckle out of some of the dumb criminal stories. Then there are the more serious ones.
I've had two of those in the past week. Both are sex crime stories. One had the details which have people calling and complaining about how they don't want to read that type of thing while they're eating breakfast. Then the next day was one that made the front page, a teacher I've interviewed several times in the past accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student.
TV and movies make us reporters look like we live for this, and sadly I've met a few who get off on others' misery for their big scoop. But I am aware of the damage that is caused - not just for the alleged victims, but also the accused who are named. Even if innocent until proven guilty, it's out there and until the accused's name is cleared (if proven innocent), they are marked.
Having reported on these sort of things before, I know this also makes me a pariah in some circles. But it's my job; after all, you wouldn't trust a paper that conveniently turned its head if someone in a public position was facing some big allegations and most everyone else in the community knew already. And for the record, I Do Not make more money if I write a story that sells more papers. My paycheck is the same whether writing about a scandal, a council meeting, or a school fund raiser.
It was once said that a newspaper is simply a mirror of its community. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's ugly. Doesn't mean we like what we're reflecting.
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