Industry News

Why journalists need to think twice about reporting on arrests

Last month, Out of Omaha, a documentary that follows twin brothers Darcell and Darrell Trotter through eight years of their lives, made its broadcast debut. The film shows how the two mature into young adults as they face economic hardships, emotional turmoil, and the criminal justice system.

In 2012, the filmmakers show, the brothers were charged with first-degree sexual assault. Then the charges were dropped, as their accuser recanted her story and pleaded guilty to falsifying her report. But a brief article published in September 2012 by the Lincoln Journal Star on the initial charges remained online. The film shows Darcell Trotter phoning multiple publications, including the Lincoln Star, asking them to remove mentions of his involvement in a crime now that the charges had been dropped. Some editors removed the information, but others did not. The Lincoln Star article is still online today, and on the first page of Darcell Trotter’s Google results—a scarlet letter for any potential dates or employers to find.

Read the full article from CJR: Why journalists need to think twice about reporting on arrests