Media Editor the Huffington Post, Danny Shea, taking a tip from Jossip‘s David Hauslaib, decided that naming singer Rihanna as an assault victim of Chris Brown‘s wasn’t journalistic. Wasn’t ethical? Wasn’t what they teach in the ol’ j-school. So Shea called the staffer than penned the piece Andrew Blankstein, and he actually picked up the phone.
Blankstein attempted to explain the LAT policy and said something to the effect that it’s sexual assault victims aren’t usually named to protect their privacy. This translated into a ‘look she wasn’t raped’ type quote – put succinctly in the phrase “fair game” and put in 70-point print at the top of the Media Section on Huffington Post.
As for what one learns in j-school, Blankstein said,”They teach you not to re-report other people’s stories.” And continued,”Look, I’m not an internet snob.”
As for naming the assault victim – famous and adored or not – that’s the way news is reported.
“He obviously doesn’t read the metro section.” Blankstein said of Shea.
Blankstein has been at the LAT for 19 years and has spent the better part of a decade reporting on crime. He’s worked on close to 3000 stories in that time. The Rihanna story was yesterday. Early this morning he was tracking down leads on the Bentley high speed chase.
“I started the day at the Octuplet’s doctor place and ended up with the Bentley story.” Noting that other sources had falsely reported that the driver that killed himself after a chase with police in Universal City was a DJ from Miami. And curious enough other news outlets speculated that the driver of the Bentley could be Chris Brown. Hm.
Coming off a night tracking down information on the luxury car driver, Blankstein tells us he’s been getting emails from people telling him that he should be ashamed of himself for naming Rihanna. “I just wish that people were more aware of the care and dedication of the people that bring you quick news.”Of course, the super ethical ‘j-schooling us’ Huffington Post must not read their Entertainment Section who’s reveling in this juicy story of hip-hop darlings and domestic abuse. Citing sources like TMZ and E!.
And then the Media Section story comments – they range from shaming the LAT:
I disagree with the LA Times’s (sic) decision. By naming her, they are solidifying or increasing other victims’ fears that they could be named if they went to the police.
I have heard that she gave him STD… It this true?
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