On Tuesday, the Associated Press announced that it will end its longtime practice of naming suspects involved in minor crimes, according to The Hill.
The announcement was made in a statement by AP’s Vice President for Standards John Daniszewski, who said the decision was allegedly made due to the likelihood of many such stories subsequently seeing charges dropped or the suspect being acquitted, even though these outcomes would not be reported. As a result, Daniszewski said, the initial articles on the arrests “have long lives on the internet” and would make it more difficult for the named suspects to “just move on in their lives,” seeking future employment or otherwise.
“Broadly speaking,” he continued, “when evaluating such stories, we should consider first whether the story is worthy of our news report, and if distributing it is indeed useful to our members and customers. If the answer is yes, in keeping with AP’s commitment to fairness, we now will no longer name suspects in brief stories about minor crimes in which there is little chance AP will provide coverage beyond the initial arrest.”
In addition to no longer naming names, Daniszewski confirmed that AP will also no longer link to stories that do name suspects, and will also no longer include mugshots in their articles. However, he added that AP will still name suspects in any “significant crimes” including murder, since doing so “may be important for public safety reasons.”