Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Decisions, decisions

We learned about a woman who fell into the cold lake water from a pier in Sandusky.
The woman just happened to be from Elyria.
AND, she just happened to be trying to go to the bathroom when she fell in (her companion told police).
We also had her name.
We thought we had two choices: Either use her name and not the fact that she was trying to pee when she went in OR tell the gory details and leave out her name.
We opted for the name and not the details.
Did we make the right decision?
(We did say it was 2:40 a.m. so readers could probably figure out that she most likely was not returning from the grocery store when she fell in.)


Anonymous said...

I read this story and thought to myself "Huh.... why did she fall in?" I guess if I were to choose, I wouldn't have written the story at all. Was she near death? Nope. Was there some dramatic rescue made to save her life? Not really. She was simply a drunken fool, doing what drunken fools do. Embarrassing? Certainly. Newsworthy? I don't think so.

Becky Amos said...

I'm just curious why you decided to out this woman on the blog... since you already identified her in the story, and now finished off the details here, why are you asking the readers if you made the right choice? You chose to do both, didn't you?

Patti Ewald said...

I guess I was just asking readers if they would have given her the same consideration, a consideration that very soon became moot.
We chose to name her the first day because she was from Elyria. However, EVERY other news organization's first-day story reported the circumstances and not the name ... in fact, we unintentionally ran an Associated Press wire story following up on it the next day -- with the circumstances and not the name. It didn't take an advanced degree to figure it out.
By the way, there is no journalism code of ethics prohibiting us from having done both right off the bat. We were doing it to save her embarassment.