Right-to-be-Forgotten Panel

Join us for a discussion about the movement to minimize longterm harm in crime reporting.

Newsrooms in Colorado and nationally are starting to adopt policies seeking to  reduce harm to criminal suspects and make it easier for them to move on after their time in the news spotlight has passed.

The Associated Press recently announced it will no longer release suspects’ names or mug shots in stories about minor crimes in which it is unlikely the news agency “will provide coverage beyond the initial arrest.” The Denver Post and affiliated newspapers owned by Prairie Mountain Publishing, as well as outlets owned by Swift Communications recently have adopted similar policies.

The “right-to-be-forgotten” movement is driven largely by increasing requests from people wishing to erase negative media coverage that can permanently hinder their job- and housing prospects. It also comes as Americans increasingly embrace second chances as a civil right.

Critics argue that the public has a right to know who has been arrested and that removing their names by amending stories on internet archives  is a form of censorship that effectively rewrites history.

Given the major shifts this issue is making in our industry, and questions many outlets have about whether and how to implement right-to-be-forgotten policies, the Colorado News Collaborative (COLab) is hosting a virtual panel from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday July 28 for discussion. We’ll hear from Denver Post Editor Lee Ann Colacioppo and Aspen Times Editor David Krause, who both have adapted new policies in their newsrooms. We’ll talk about the nuances of these policies and ways they can help boost trust in local news coverage. We’ll discuss how newsrooms may want to factor in Colorado’s recently passed House Bill 21-1214 when deciding whether to amend old stories. And we’ll examine the extent to which journalists should rely on police accounts in their reporting. See today’s column by Corey Hutchins on this topic. 

COLab is pleased to partner with the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, the Colorado Press Association, Colorado Media Project and the Denver Press Club in promoting this important conversation. Please RSVP here to participate July 28. We’re eager to hear what you have to say.

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