Reporters covering crime should respect for the people and community they are covering, journalists agreed at a discussion sponsored last week by the Society of Professional Journalists in Milwaukee. Local print and television reporters discussed the topic in the aftermath of last fall’s shooting of
six young people in Crandon, WI, by Tyler Peterson, a young law enforcement officer.
Several journalists who covered the case, which drew state and national attention, described the phenomenon of reporters’ descending on the small northern Wisconsin community. They noted the importance of approaching families and community members with respect. One journalist recalled sitting in a restaurant as colleagues at an adjacent table poked fun at the community and residents, ignoring the fact that the waitress serving them and patrons around them were members of that community.