Letter: 'Trial by media' has no place in SV, SLV communities
Jun 12, 2014 | 3827 views | 6 6 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print

To the editor:

Recently hired Press-Banner editor Jon Chown is apparently determined to waste no time leaving his mark on the paper. The changes in typography and layout I can take or leave. However, I strongly object to Chown's decision to publish the names of individuals who have recently been apprehended by local police and sheriff's deputies. Though he notes that "these are only charges, and not guilty verdicts," the damage done to the reputation of the person and their family by such publicity can never be entirely undone, regardless of the eventual outcome of the case.

I don't know where Chown has plied his trade before assuming the Press-Banner editorship, but "trial by media" has no place in a group of small communities who take pride in taking care of their own as best they can.


Seth Knoepler



Editor’s note: I am not trying to “make my mark,” but merely reporting and have worked at a half dozen small newspapers with similar policies. Probably from the time newspapers were started, and certainly in all media outlets today, the names of individuals arrested for crimes are reported long before they are convicted. For instance, we were all aware of O.J. Simpson’s charges long before he was found not guilty. We are not “trying anybody in the media,” by merely reporting an arrest in a log. But I will listen to our readership and if there is really a desire to not have the arrest reports printed, we will concentrate our efforts elsewhere.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Felton parent
June 14, 2014
I don't necessarily have a problem with the arrestees' names being printed. However, I see no need to print the records of arrests made in the city of Santa Cruz. The old format, which was limited to arrests made in San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley, was more than sufficient from my perspective.
Dave Wade
June 14, 2014
I think some arrests are important public information. If I own a small business, I want to know who is getting arrested for shoplifting. If someone is a repeat offendor for some crime that affects public safety, that likewise is important and useful information.
Just Another Girl
June 14, 2014
I love the calling out of the offenders in our community, especially those who are repeatedly arrested for the same offenses.

Open your eyes, folks.
Kerry Lokey
June 15, 2014
I appreciate knowing what is happening in our city. Further, if you want don't want to be ashamed of your name in the paper, don't violate the law! Criminals need to know we are paying attention.

Charles McDermott
July 05, 2014
They fired the editor so those arrests won't be appearing anymore. Apparently the paper wants to protect the shoplifters and not your business. So.... Is your business going to advertise with them?
A Mum in the Mtns
July 29, 2014
I wondered why the format of the paper has again changed with NO police activity being mentioned.

The criminal element of the communities in Santa Cruz County is worsening and the local press bows down to a few people who were uncomfortable with the reality of what is going on.

Time to pull your heads out of the sand.

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