Tuesday, November 05, 2019
Cedar Rapids Gazette offers to remove stories about old, minor crimes from its website, with some limitations
The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is inviting people who have committed minor crimes and paid the penalty to ask the newspaper to remove stories about them from its website.
The new policy has limits: "The case needs to have worked its way to resolution through the courts, meaning charges were dismissed or a judgment of some sort was imposed. Jail or prison time associated with the charges must have been completed," Kucharski writes. The Gazette will not consider removal requests from celebrities, local or elected officials. We will not remove articles where the actions resulted in the death of another individual."
The policy calls to mind the Anniston Star's 2007 decision to not even report the name of a high-school football player whose transgression caused the Alabama High School Athletic Association to rule him ineligible, meaning that the Oxford High School team had to forfeit seven of its 10 wins. Bob Davis, editor at the time, said "We wanted to treat him with the respect of someone who is underage. It’s the same reason we withhold the names of minors — there shouldn’t be something that follows you forever."