Crime Victims: Media Should Focus On Them, Not Perps


Three fathers whose children were victims in high-profile Las Vegas-area crimes analyzed their treatment by the news media at a forum, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Fred Brown of the Denver Post, co-chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists’ National Ethics Committee, noted that the group’s ethics code states that “Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.” He said: “We don’t always do a very good job of that.”

Rick Poff, father of a high school student who died after their friend crashed his car while driving 80 mph, said he was misquoted by print reporters and that television stations edited his statements and misrepresented what he meant to say. Television stations played repeatedly video of the boys in body bags being wheeled to the coroner’s vehicle. “There should be more sensitivity and respect,” he said. The father of a teen who was shot to death said television reports kept saying the shooting was the result of an “ongoing family feud.” His response: “There was no family feud.” All panelists wanted to see more focus on the lives of the victims of crimes, and less on who the perpetrators were.


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