The San Francisco Chronicle’s Phil Bronstein blogged for the Huffington Post that the lawsuit of a California man against a student newspaper editor is evidence of when “free press and compassion clash.”
As iMediaEthics has reported, Dr. Harvey Purtz asked Rajesh Srinivasen, the editor of UC Berkeley’s student newspaper, the Daily Californian, to remove stories about his recently deceased son, Chris Purtz. The stories reported that Chris Purtz “was accused of behaving very badly at a San Francisco strip club” and his later suspension from the college football team. Harvey Purtz sued Srinivasen for “emotional distress” for not removing the stories from the Daily Californian’s website. The court recently found in favor of the Daily Californian.
Bronstein noted that “other sites took down the strip club story on request, including Gawker’s sports blog, Deadspin.” Deadspin’s editor, A.J. Daulerio, is quoted as saying that he was “comfortable” taking the story off the site because “Based on the circumstances and the fact that it would have no impact on us whatsoever.”
San Francisco Chronicle’s website, sfgate.com, and “all Hearst papers” all follow “similar strict rules” as the Daily Californian in terms of only removing stories if they are “entirely untruthful,” according to sfgate.com’s editor Vlae Kershner.
“If we’re going to stand on journalistic principle in refusing to take down stories, we need at least to acknowledge the collateral damage of doing what’s right,” Bronstein wrote. “Sometimes we’re standing on other people.”
See Bronstein’s full post here.