Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Should Journalists Make The Alleged Bigots' Statements Public?

A pair of local school officials are in the news because they allegedly had text conversations that were racist and sexually charged.

When you watch the report above or if you read about the story in most outlets, you will not learn what the two allegedly said beyond the n-word. The transcriptions of the texts have been published in a few less-mainstream outlets.

Should news organizations present the full transcripts or should journalists apply moral standards and not allow such language or behavior go public?

20 comments:

Emily Rolen said...

Being that the story is still impactful, relevant, and timely without presenting the full transcript, I think it is entirely unnecessary to give to the audience. It tells us that the comments were "racist" and "sexually charged," which gives us a pretty good idea of the content of the messages. I believe that sometimes it is necessary to provide the gruesome details, however in this instance, it is not going to significantly change the impact of the story.

Maggie Andresen said...

Though the story would not change regardless of releasing the messages I believe they should be available to the public. In the fifty percent minority school district, those comments affect a multiplicity of students. I know that if I were a student at the end of racially charged comments, I would want to know exactly what has been said on my behalf.

Skyler Burkhart said...

I don't even think the issue is the language or the severity of these words. I'm kind of having trouble understanding why it's acceptable to broadcast someone's text messages on the news...

Kelly Brice said...

Although the story heavily impacted this community, it is unnecessary to release the full content of the messages. Journalists have a moral responsibility to censor inappropriate details, as a wide variety of readers may be drawn to their work. It is easy to infer from the description--"racist" and "sexually charged"-- that these texts should not have been exchanged between school professionals. The details of the texts should be left at that. Journalists can still convey a message through their work while meeting moral criteria, which is better for credibility.

Steven Bohnel said...

It may be offensive, but I feel the public deserves to know what these two guys were texting. Mainstream news outlets should put a disclaimer to warn parents about the vulgar language being used, but journalism's first obligation is the truth. If there were far worse things than the n-word being said, then people deserve to know that in order to further form an opinion of how bad these two really are. Anything less would be robbing the public of information in a day and age where we immerse ourselves in an abundance of it.

Jordan Gunselman said...

One the one hand, these texts were sent by school faculty, supposedly professionals. But they are private text messages between two people. I don't see how these two people's private opinions are the public's concern. As far as the story let on, neither person has exhibited racist or sexist behavior or even let on about these opinions outside of this texting conversation. The media really shouldn't be investigating people's private text messages for the purpose of exposing unpopular (and yes, kind of awful) personal feelings.

Kate Reilly said...

To be honest as a viewer I'm kind of curious as to what the messages said. If I were a parent of a child going to this school I would want to see these text message that clearly show how these two school officials really are as people. I understand if the school is legally not allowed to show or talk about the contexts of the texts but if these two officials were willing to text these racist thing they should face the consequences of it going public, especially someone in their position.

Annie Merrill said...

I think in this particular case it doesn't seem necessary to quote the exact comments because we already know they were racist and sexist. I do believe that the comments should be available to those interested in reading them, but on more mainstream media such as abc I understand why they wouldn't want to show them.

Timi Jones said...

I think that the full transcripts should only be shown in a court of law. After the case, I know they will become public record but you can access them if you wish. When subjects like this are shown in the media, it kind of force feeds it to the public with no regard for whether it will offend anyone.

Morgan G. said...

I think that the transcripts should be released to the public because the conflict involved the superintendent of the area. It was his own fault that he was shown in a bad light through recovered text messages thus he should pay the consequences of the public being able to read these texts.

Alexa White said...

If news organizations are going to publish what the outlining content of the private text messages were, then they should make the full transcript available. If you are going to down that route, you might as well go all the way. We know that these two officials had a discriminatory exchange, but all we know is one word was said. If the media is going to create such a buzz over these text messages, then the audience should know what exactly is so buzzworthy.

Reyn Sugai said...

These people were already wrong in what they did, adding just a couple of texts that they sent would not be a big issue to me. I think it would add more detail and increase the impact of the story.

Lora Strum said...

Those text messages go to the truth of the matter. Isn't truth what journalist is about? Having reliable evidence of this wrong deed takes this story from somewhat slanderous/libelous talk to an actual story with evidence of someone saying racist/sexually explicit comments. Journalists should broadcast all the fleeting expletives or use quotes where someone swears repeatedly unless it provides substance for the story--as it would do here.

Paige Calter said...

While I think that it is important that the full transcripts of the text are available for parents to read/ or anyone who is interested (in example by giving a link to go to online) , but I do not think its necessary to publicly show them over TV on a news outlet where there is a broad age range of viewers. The situation was clearly outlined and even with the vague description given of what you can understand what is going on.

Andrew Vanech said...

Its important to get the full transcripts of the conversations to know what was actually said. News outlets should also cut bits and pieces of the transcripts and put them up, with anything offensive censored, so viewers know why the two officials were in trouble.

Suchi Parikh said...

No matter who it was, at the end of the day it was two text conversations and that is completely private and it would be wrong of journalists to present the full transcript. Also, you never know who is watching the news and using that kind of bad language is just not acceptable in the news.

Suchi Parikh said...

No matter who it was, at the end of the day it was two text conversations and that is completely private and it would be wrong of journalists to present the full transcript. Also, you never know who is watching the news and using that kind of bad language is just not acceptable in the news.

Mariama Mansaray said...

i think it was just unnecessary for the journalist to present all the information exchanged in the message. they already informed the public that racial comments were involved in the messaging. i think we all have a pretty good idea of things when it comes to racist. i don't think it would make any difference in the eye of the public if they released the messages word for word. personally, i was getting tired of listening to the story.

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