Not much has changed in Twin Cities newsrooms since I wrote an article in 1999 on the clumsy application of ethics when it comes to naming the names of people who are arrested on the suspicion of committing a crime, but who have not yet been charged.
Remember Richard Jewell? He was the guy who was arrested for the Atlanta Olympics bombing. He didn’t do it, but he was named as a suspect and that was enough to ruin his life at the time.
Minnesota Public Radio has a policy of not naming suspects until they’re charged precisely for that reason. But everything gets blurry when (a) Another media source names the name and (b) the person is “famous.”
Today, the news is out that the co-host of a popular talk show on a Twin Cities radio station has been arrested — but not yet charged — for allegedly possessing meth. Maybe he did. Maybe he didn’t. In any event, it doesn’t matter anymore. At best, his career is over.
Read the old article and then let’s hear your opinion.