The Tampa Bay Times, the Orlando Sentinel and 26 former GateHouse newspapers — now owned by Gannett — have ended the practice of publishing arrest mugshot galleries.
“The galleries lack context and further negative stereotypes,” Mark Katches, executive editor of the Tampa Bay Times, said on Monday. “We think the data is an important resource that our newsroom will continue to analyze and watch carefully, but the galleries alone serve little journalistic purpose.”
The Times will still publish mugshots of those arrested for relevant crime stories, however.
The Sentinel also announced last Friday it would be discontinuing its mugshot database because “the galleries have little journalistic value and may have reinforced negative stereotypes.”
Meanwhile, prior to its merger with GateHouse, Gannett had already taken down the mugshot galleries for its papers in 2018. But as of last week, Gannett removed the galleries from 26 papers formerly under the GateHouse umbrella, according to Poynter.
A spokesperson for Gannett did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
“Mugshot galleries presented without context may feed into negative stereotypes and, in our editorial judgment, are of limited news value. Instead, we will focus on the best ways to inform our readers by providing relevant information that will keep our communities safe and continuing to cover crime, as well as the public safety system,” Gannett said in a statement, according to Poynter. “This policy change does not impact the use of mugshots associated with articles or other editorial content.”
Several media outlets had previously ended this practice, also arguing that mugshot galleries in particular disproportionately feature black and brown people and further negative stereotypes. Earlier this year, the Houston Chronicle and Cleveland.com stopped publishing their mugshot galleries.