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Irresponsibility?

Posted: May 10, 2012 - 10:18am  |  Updated: May 11, 2012 - 12:06am

Why on earth do you use the front page of Juneau’s only newspaper to glorify the rash and irresponsible actions of an immature and misguided 23-year-old prison inmate by showing a photo of him topless with his pants hanging around his boxers and looking like a Tarzan type hero in your story of his escape from court (May 3, 2012, “Inmate captured after fleeing Juneau courthouse”)?

What exactly IS the code of journalistic ethics that informs the decision to use a picture like this to illustrate the story of a 17-minute “escape?” What do you think might be the “unintended consequences” of this poor judgment on the person in the story? Other immature 20-somethings saying “Dude! that was awesome?” Other LCCC inmates giving him kudos and short term hero-status? Would any of this be helpful to this young man or another in making better decisions in the future ? Does it occur to you there may be other issues behind his two escape efforts in 24 hours? Mental health or other not fully known issues? Having printed the picture, does the Empire take any responsibility for unintended consequences of this journalistic sensationalism?

The Empire has really devolved in any efforts toward more journalistic professionalism in recent years and this is another example of going for a short blast of bling with a goal to sell the paper versus a more rational, humanistic, holistic and, oh yes, responsible portrayal of the news.

Ann Turner Olson

North Douglas

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