Register Citizen explains decision to publish students' tweets about sex assault case

Connecticut Newsroom | The Register Citizen

Journal Register editor Matt DeRienzo says The (Litchfield County, Conn.) Register Citizen included tweets from current and former high school students in a story about a sex assault and cyber bullying case even though it could have told the story without them.



He explained the paper's reasoning in a blog post:


By publishing the actual messages, we made this real in a way that writing a story about unnamed kids would not. ... Vaguely summarizing this kind of bullying, identities protected, would have allowed the school district to continue to ignore the problem and the community to assume that it was “someone else’s kid.”

But the fact is that “good kids,” from “good homes,” honor roll students, athletes, male, female, participated in this stuff, and showed a fundamental and staggeringly dangerous misunderstanding about rape, consent and how to treat other people.

The messages expressed sentiments such as, “I wanna know why there’s no punishment for young hoes" and “Sticking up for a girl who wanted the D and then snitched? have a seat pleaseeee," Jessica Glenza reported.

Some of the authors of the messages deleted or protected their Twitter accounts after Glenza's piece appeared, Tom Cleary reported. Outlets such as The New York Times and Jezebel reported on The Register Citizen's story, DeRienzo writes.

Related: Why didn't Chicago dailies identify the driver of a fatal crash? (Chicago Reader)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.

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