Cleveland Plain Dealer public editor Ted Diadiun defended the newspaper’s story on a “severely obese” third-grader “removed from his home” by the county because of his weight.
In a December column, Diadiun argued that the newspaper didn’t sensationalize the story. Instead of taking a sensational or superficial approach to the report, Diadiun said the Plain Dealer’s reporter, Rachel Dissell, took ” the time to apply extra reporting and sensitivity.”
For example, Diadiun noted that Dissell “took great pains to avoid identifying the family.” But, national media outlets picked up on the story and started calling the lawyer of the mother and Dissell trying to ID the family for interviews.
According to Diadiun, Dissell agreed with the mother’s decision to avoid “a media circus” because of previous stories that made the national stage.
Of the previous case, Dissell told Diadiun that “The national media can chew you up and spit you out. Some of them never got to the heart of her story; they just used her.”
See Diadiun’s full column here.