How WCPO Cincinnati responds to unpublishing requests - iMediaEthics

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(Credit: WCPO)

Did WCPO Cincinnati publish an article mentioning you that you wish they didn’t?

WCPO Cincinnati’s Senior Direct of Local Media Content Mike Canan said the station receives a few requests a month from readers requesting for unpublishing of the article or the removal of their name. Last month, Canan published an article explaining how it handles unpublishing requests.

Canan noted that WCPO, an ABC-affiliate, is “balancing two key tenets of journalism” – recording history and not needlessly harming readers. “In court, people are innocent until proven guilty, but many employers don’t bring that principle to the hiring process,” he wrote of readers who may have been charged with a crime, but later had the charges dropped.

WCPO provided a form for readers who wanted to request unpublishing or scrubbing of parts of articles, but noted that WCPO will agree in “rare instances” after an internal meeting. Instead, WCPO may update the story or do a follow-up story.

“We will only remove these materials if the case has been resolved in the court system and all punishments or jail/prison time has been served,” he wrote. “People requesting removal must provide documentation that shows the status of the case.”

Questions WCPO’s internal meeting will address include, he wrote:

  • “Is our reporting accurate? If not, we will correct or remove the content.
  • “What is the status of the case (are charges dropped, expunged)? The requesting party must provide documentation.
  • “How long ago did this happen?
  • “How serious was the crime?
  • “Is the person requesting the victim or suspect? We are more likely to remove a victim’s name if we published it.”

iMediaEthics has written to WCPO for more information about its practices.

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How WCPO Cincinnati responds to unpublishing requests

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