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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Did the punishment fit the crime?

The overwhelming majority of the 20 students in the UAlbany journalism class that I teach thought The Saratogian was wrong to publish the names and addresses of the Burnt Hills kids who were cited for being at an underage drinking party.
I asked the students to read the story and the readers' comments, and then come up their own opinion.
Some made the point that it was unnecessarily hard on the kids. I can accept that.
One thoughtful commentary concluded that "the article would have been just as effective if they left the names of the children out of the piece." That, I challenge. It was having the names, making the story about real people, that sparked all of the discussion.
What troubled me is that many of the students thought, erroneously, that the publication of their names could haunt the kids forever and, worse, that coverage of an underage drinking party was much ado about nothing.
One student, however, asked whether parents the knew their kids were at a drinking party -- and whether they cared.


Blogger shanghai dandy said...

They let YOU teach a journalism class????? That's friggin hilarious.....

February 14, 2009 at 7:13 AM 
Blogger Tucker said...

You should really proof read your blog before publishing it. Your students might think they're not getting their money's worth if they see Burnt Hills misspelled and can't figure out what your last sentence means.

February 15, 2009 at 8:22 AM 

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