You know who I told when my stories were picked up on the wires?
As I caught up on the news this morning, I saw this hed in a tweet:
You could view this as another “Florida man” story. But, when I saw the labels used to describe someone who had been murdered, I thought this was was a bit too sensationalized. Most of these details are important to the story, but in sum the deceased was a human – and a tweet like that seems to try to make him less of one.
I would argue that particularly that the deceased wore women’s clothes in public does not a headline/lede-worthy detail make. In the text of the story, Ovalle refers to this fact as “The twist.”
I attempted to convey my opinion in a reply tweet:
Some random dude voiced what most in the Herald newsroom was probably thinking:
You see who liked that tweet?
Minutes later, he tweeted what is atop the page about the popularity of his story.
Look, I get this story fits the newsroom value of novelty. But, when someone in the story is dead, it’s ethical and just decent to avoid sensationalizing or publicly bragging.
And, in the interest of solutions-based journalism: A different angle to take might be to look at how the justice system treats Haitian immigrants – both as victims and defendants. The story is upfront that the defendant’s plea was partly motivated by the expected lack of understanding that a jury would have for this case.