The media walks a fine line when it comes to covering horrific crimes, such as the Colorado theater shooting, and avoiding giving suspects the attention they crave.
Some relatives of the 12 people killed in the Aurora, Colo., shooting have asked television news divisions to avoid using James Holmes' name and image in their reports. They are concerned the massive coverage, which the story has received, is rewarding Holmes by giving him infamy.
Others said they want the victims to be more remembered than the shooter.
Relatives have urged TV producers to just refer to Holmes as the gunman or the shooter.
We understand the relatives' concerns.
Those wounded and their families and the relatives of those who died in this heinous act have suffered tremendously. The emotional trauma they have to face is immense and long-lasting, and there is no desire to add to that on the part of the media.
Weighing the public's right to know, providing news updates and being sensitive to the concerns of the victims and their families is a balancing act. And it's especially difficult in cases in which the victims are dead and the suspect is alive.
The public's appetite for information on high profile cases is huge, in part because the atrocities are so unfathomable. There is a desire to try to learn why a person would do such a terrible thing, whether anyone could have stopped such a heinous act and if others were involved in some way.
Finding that out, and the process of delivering justice can be a long, drawn-out process that can make the identities of suspects common knowledge.
People want to know what's happening with the suspect at each stage, especially when it comes to court proceedings, and they deserve to know. With few exceptions, such as juvenile cases, our courts are open to inform the public and to safeguard people against secret tribunals.
The media has no desire to fulfill a suspect's desire for infamy through heinous acts. Regrettably, though, that can be an undesired byproduct of keeping the public informed.