New article – Suspect identified: revisiting naming practices in crime coverage

Australian Journalism Review – Vol 38 Issue 1 (Jul  2016)

with Steve Lillebuen and Philip Chubb

This study examines the media’s practice of revealing the names of criminal suspects, particularly before charges have been laid. The paper, which uses a content analysis of police stories in two major newspapers in the Australian state of Victoria, shows the practice is commonplace. But as media naming practices extend into online publishing, as observed in this study, unproven police suspicions are given global publicity, causing reputational damage. This paper argues that naming should be considered a signicant ethical issue, and one with increasing relevance in the digital age. Full article.