As a journalist, I must take issue with LNP’s policy regarding police logs, according to Aug. 27’s “Ask the Editor” column. In particular, the response to the frequent and “sometimes with heart-tugging passion” requests from people to keep their name (and in many cases, I would suspect, the entire police incident) out of print. LNP cites the public’s right to know what’s going on in their neighborhoods and goes on to state, “Out of fairness, we cannot do that. If we get the information from police, we publish it. No one is granted an exception. We present the news as we find it, regardless of the size of the headline.”
My question is, “Out of fairness to whom?” To blindly take whatever information police agencies feed to a so-called “blotter” (oftentimes verbatim and without any additional vetting) guts the newsgathering power of the media and allows law enforcement to pick and choose what the public hears and when they hear it. The police and the district attorney become the editor as well, if your policy is to print every item they submit (while not knowing what they’ve withheld). It is as manipulative of the news media and, therefore, the public’s access to information, as is the encryption of police radio transmissions, and the constant refusals to hand over (clearly) public information, even under a court order. Just because law enforcement spoonfeeds information to the local media doesn’t mean it’s newsworthy. That’s the job of an editor to decide.