Media Handling of Groene Case

In the news recently there was a big deal made of the rescue of S. Groene, a young girl whose family was murdered. Her older brother had also gone missing with her. She was found and a “high-risk registered sex offender”. Her picture was widely publicized, both immediately after she went missing, in order to aid in her discovery, and afterwards, as part of the news of her rescue.

Today, an AP report tells us:

Note: underlining is mine.

This seems to be a case of locking the barn door after the fact. Has AP handled this correctly? How about other media outlets? Should the girl’s name have been withheld in advance, or at least upon her rescue, given what it was possible she had endured?

In advance? Certainly not, as it might facilitate her recovery. After all, if the child’s FACE weren’t publicized, she might not be alive today. Also, this is kind of an unusual situation – a murder PLUS abduction. Should reporters have said “a family was found slaughtered today, but we’re not going to tell you who they were, since the perp may be out there molesting one of the children right now?”

Withholding her name upon rescue seems kind of pointless, given the prior exposure. Call her loss of anonymity an unfortunate but necessary occurrence, and move on. Remember Katie Beers? Everyone around here does. She’s said to be doing just fine.

As in “recovery from captivity,” not “recovery from her ordeal.”

They’re bringing it up just to tell their readers “if we’d known, we wouldn’t have released her name.” They were correct not to withhold it in case; that wouldn’t have made much sense.

This happens all the time. Until and unless the media has definitive information that the minor has been the subject of sexual abuse, they have no reason to withold his or her name.

Yes, but they are withholding it now, and no longer using any of her family’s names.

Yes, because S. Groene’s name should remain a secret now.

(Actually, I have no beef with the media handling of the case, I just think it’s kinda pointless to withhold her name.)

Former media member chiming in. The AP is simply following established policy. Now that it is clear that the girl has been molested, they are withholding her name. I agree that it’s pointless, but they value consistency.

I don’t think releasing the name is such a big deal. I suppose you could get away with just flashing her picture and other information on TV and everything without releasing her name, but if it in any way helps to find her they should absolutely release it.

What really gets me is the fact that the media had to inform us that she was raped repeatedly. What is the purpose of reporting that? Do I really need to know that? Does anybody here care that she was raped? They conceal the names of rape victims during trials (albeit for different reasons), and they should at least not inform anyone that she was raped, and do the same in similar cases.

It bothers me that someone who found out about this would actually tell the media and that, even worse, the media would let the whole nation know.

If true, that’s totally moronic. But just now I read the two most recent AP stories about the case, and they absolutely used the names Shasta and Dylan Groene.

I don’t understand your objection to that of all things, *Section 408. If I cared about the case - I don’t, but if I did - that’s something I’d want to know. The AP’s job is passing on information. Why would they withhold it at this point?

If I was related to her or the case then yes, that’s entirely relevant, but as an your regular Joe, it’s really none of my, or for that matter, anyone else’s business.

I guess it bothers me because if I were in her shoes, I’d hate to grow up with the entire nation knowing that I was repeatedly raped as a little kid, and maybe she would to, then again, maybe not. But you can’t really ask her, can you?

You can say that about a billion news stories. The fact is some other people do care.

Hence, the AP’s statement that they would not ordinarily have released her name.

Absolutely people care, why I’ll never know, but it’s more about her privact, which I think should have been better protected in this case, regardless of whether or not people care.

I understand the AP’s statement, but it’s a moot point since they had already released her name since she was missing before discovering she was in fact a sexual assault victim, which they promptly informed the entire nation of.

In the end you’re still suggesting they should have withheld information about a story they’d already broken. I think that’s unreasonable and not a good idea.

Yes, that’s exactly what I’m suggesting. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the AP or any news outlet for that matter to not release certain information if it threatens someone’s privacy, which in this case I think it did.

If Duncan raped her, eventually he’ll be charged with that in addition to his other crimes. Should the AP just leave that charge out of its reports?

I wish they would.

Yeah, I know he’ll probably be charged for that, and you can’t secretly charge him with a crime, but it just seems overkill to me. I mean, we found the girl, and he’s in custody, it’s over with. There are more important things going on in the world. Of course, if we’re lucky, we’ll be privileged enough to get 24-hour coverage of the trial where maybe, just maybe he’ll pull a BTK-killer thing and admit everything in court and we can listen to how he raped her and her brother. Nothing quite like a real-life drama being played out in the comfort of your own home.

I guess I just have a general problem with the news media in general, and what stories the cover and they way in which they are covered, and the fact that they told everyone about her being raped just irked me. I mean, they spend an endless amount of hours talking about Natalee Holloway and the runaway bride and the Scott Peterson trial.

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but 200,00+ people have been killed in Sudan, and was there not a tsunami just months ago that killed about a hundred thousand?

I don’t understand why whether or not Scott Peterson gets convicted is more important than the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

It’s not overwith, as he’s going to stand trial. The story was originally about the search for two kids, and it seems one was raped and the other murdered. It doesn’t make sense to just drop it there.

Sure, but you could say that about most anything.

It’s not really a question of importance, but I don’t disagree with you.

Absolutely. I can’t imagine the public outcry if they didn’t get to see how this one plays out. I know I can’t wait for the thrilling conclusion.

No, the “case” isn’t over with, but as far as the news is concerned it is. There’s no point in continuing to cover it and keep us informed about how the defense presented their case. Just tell us if he gets convicted or not whenever the jury reaches a verdict. This is no longer news. Although apparently “news” is whatever CNN, Fox, MSNBC etc. decide to tell us is news (which is almost always the same thing) so perhaps it is.

Then what is it a quesiton of?