Tell me what you think:
The reason for the question relates to the following news story.
I'll quote directly from the Anchorage Daily News for the facts since I have absolutely no problem with their reportage on this one:
man killed on New Year's Day was stabbed numerous times in a confrontation with a man he accused of raping his girlfriend’s teenage daughter, according to formal charges filed Tuesday. Anchorage
Keilan Ebli, 20, of
was charged with first-degree murder, first- and second-degree sexual assault and tampering with evidence in connection with the death of William Oestreich. Ebli was scheduled to appear in court this afternoon along with a suspect in an unrelated New Year’s Day shooting that left two people dead. Anchorage
Oestreich, 45, had gone with his girlfriend to pick up the woman’s daughter from an apartment in the 600 block of
east 16th Avenueearly Monday morning.
The couple went there in response to a call from the girl that she woke up naked on the floor of Ebli’s bedroom and had been raped by him, according to charging documents. The girl had arrived earlier by cab and was “very intoxicated,” Ebli’s roommate told police.
The mother told police that Oestreich hit Ebli, possibly with a bottle. The men began arguing until downstairs tenants told Ebli to quiet down and persuaded Oestreich to leave.
Soon after Ebli ran down the stairs past the tenants, yelling “I’m going to kill you” and carrying a knife, court records say. When he returned, Ebli told them he had stabbed the man and the tenants then found Oestreich lying on the street bleeding, according to the court records.
Police were called and arrived shortly after 4 a.m. Monday. Oestreich was taken to an
hospital, where he died during surgery. Anchorage
Officers found Ebli hiding under a bed, according to the court records. He told police he was intoxicated when the girl arrived and that they had consensual sex but that the girl got upset when she couldn’t find her clothes.
Ebli also told police he was sleeping when Oestreich hit him on the head. The court papers say Ebli had a cut on the back of his head that required medical attention.
Ebli denied any knowledge about the stabbing. Police found several knives in the apartment that tested positive for blood as well as a towel bearing the bloody shape of a knife, according to court documents. Blood also was found in the bedroom and outside the apartment leading to the street.
Ebli was arrested and was being held on $200,000 cash-only bail.
This is pretty sensational by Los Anchorage standards so it's fair that all media outlets have been reporting extensively about the homicide.
One TV news station, which I will not name, during their report on the nightly news tonight mentioned the alleged sexual assault victim's initials no less than 4 times by the reporter and a fifth time by showing a clip of the judge at the suspect's arraignment reading the portion of the bail which mentioned no contact with the victim.
I don't know how old the sexual assault victim is but another station's website (KTVA CBS Channel 11) reported: " According to charging documents in the case, Ebli sexually assaulted, then raped an underage girl as she was passed out drunk in his apartment."
So she's a minor too? What is gained by disclosing the initials of a juvenile sexual assault victim?
Tell me I'm overreacting.
Oh and I have an email in to the folks at the news station. I’m interested to see what they have to say.
I have my answer.
For the record, the news agency was KTUU Channel 2 Newshour, the reporter was
Rebecca Palsha, and the managing editor is Jason Moore.
(and cc'd Palsha) the following email: Moore
Is it standard practice to identify the initials of a sexualassault victim?
During the 6 o'clock news report tonight (12/2/07) regarding the Oestreich homicide
reporter Rebecca Palsha referred to a sexual assault victim by her initials no less
than 4 times in addition to showing a clip of the judge at the arraignment saying the
initials (there was clearly no other reason for this clip to be shown).While I realize that the initials were available in court documents and were spoken
aloud by the judge at the suspect's arraignment, what is the rationale behind using
the initials over and over during a broadcast?
Why on earth would you seek to identify
a sexual assault victim to the public? It would not be difficult for even casual
acquaintances of the family to piece together the identity of the victim by her initials.
I am curious as to the editorial thought process behind this decision.
Thank you in advance for responding,
I received the following response from Jason Moore:
A manager here did review the Rebecca script and felt as though the initials
gave the victim adequate anonymity. We discussed it this morning and realize
it was probably not the right decision and will make future references to sexual
assault victims in more general terms such as "the victim."
Which is really all I wanted to hear.
I sent him a quick reply thanking him, mentioning that I
had thought I was watching FOX for a moment, and adding
with relief that I would continue to be a faithful watcher of
** Another update!! **
This from Steve Mac Donald, Assistant News Director:
Dear Mr. Anderson,
We clearly made a mistake. We never should have used the
victims initials. In past stories of this nature we've either
made up initials or simply referred to the person as
I've spoken to the reporter and the person who checked her
script to make sure this error is never repeated.
It is something that should never have aired and feel
terrible that it did. We've always taken great care in
protecting victims of sexual crimes always siding with more
protection rather than less.
We will do our best to never do this again.
Thank you for writing.
Steve Mac Donald
Ch 2 News