The Associated Press announced on Tuesday that its crime coverage will look a little different going forward. Suspects in minor crimes will no longer be named by the news organization, which distributes stories and content to local newsrooms around the country.
Moreover, the AP “will stop publishing stories driven mainly by a particularly embarrassing mugshot.”
In the announcement, published on the company’s blog, vice president for standards John Daniszewski explained, “These minor stories, which only cover an arrest, have long lives on the internet. AP’s broad distribution network can make it difficult for the suspects named in such items to later gain employment or just move on in their lives.”
He went on to point out that crime coverage should be determined by whether it is “worthy” of a report and “useful” to members and consumers. When a story is deemed worthy and useful, it will not name suspects of minor crimes nor link to stories that do because the names “are generally not newsworthy beyond their local communities.”
The organization will continue to name individuals suspected in major crimes, like murder, and in cases where ongoing coverage is likely.
“In these cases, naming a suspect may be important for public safety reasons. These guidelines also do not include stories about active searches for fugitives,” Daniszewski said.
Representatives for the AP did not immediately return a request for comment on when the new guidance will go into effect or if it already had.