Covering Youth an Exercise in Judgement

“A bright feature story on 16-year-old ‘Mary’ might refer to her by first name throughout. A straight news story on how she was charged with a crime might use her last name instead.|Youth can be a big factor in how we report the news. In the case above, the tone of the stories would be dramatically different, and we try to mix common sense with reader sensibilities in determining how to refer to minors.” Lewis BrissmanCovering Youth an Exercise in Judgement (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Lewis was the managing editor at the University Journal, at the time one of two competing daily student papers at the University of Virginia, where I was an assistant photo editor and assistant features editor.

You’ll note that I didn’t link to the home page of the UJ, which tells you how it fared in the competition I mentioned. Our paper never recovered from its jump from three days a week to five — it folded a few years after I graduated. Oh, well… we gave it a good try.