Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Juveniles & Media

For a long-time juveniles were mostly protected from being named in the media when they were in trouble. This year some people took exception to the fact that Ryan Krecker and Franco Ferraina were under 18 and identified in the newspapers for trouble they had gotten into. People felt they were unfairly singled out because they were on the wrestling team, a high-profile sport at Nazareth.

The media responded stating that the names were released because they were initially charged with a felony, and that allowed them to include names by law.

More recently, a 15 year old from Nazareth, Tyler Transue, has been in the news. He choked out fellow student Max Wasilewski, also 15. The names of both boys have been included by both newspapers in each account I’ve read, before and after a judge heard the case.

I’ve seen no complaints that both names were included, and neither to my knowledge is involved in football, wrestling, or basketball.

Yesterday, the case was heard in juvenile court and reported in both the Express-Times (read it here) and the Morning Call (read it here).

Not surprising, Transue was found guilty of misdemeanor reckless endangerment and, probably more surprising, aggravated assault, which according to the articles is a felony. So, we now know why the name of the attacker was released, but I still don’t understand why the victim’s name was released.

In addition to the apparent change by the media to name minors, I’ve found that the advent of the internet and social media has generally lowered the standards of traditional media. I’ve literally cringed at some online headlines by respectable news organizations as they try to appeal to the ‘online’ audience.

Today, I was stunned to see that the Morning Call included with the article on the court hearing of Transue a clearly dated photo (turns out from 1990s) of two unknown pro wrestlers engaged in a choke hold. Pro wrestling is not real, it is entertainment. These kids didn’t learn a choke hold from pro wrestling, they learned it watching Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). MMA is probably the fastest growing sport in the country and has replaced boxing as the most popular one on one combat sport. I’m surprised that the Morning Call didn’t respect the seriousness of this issue and incident, didn’t understand the context of the issue, and that they reported the victim’s name as a minor. The Express-Times also released the victim’s name, but at least didn’t include an image that mocked the entire issue and made light of it.

Posted via email from Ross Nunamaker

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