Letter from the Editor: Why we’ve decided to resume publishing crime reports

Jeremy Chisenhall headshot

Jeremy Chisenhall

During the Fall 2018 semester, the College Heights Herald made the decision to suspend its weekly publication of crime reports from the WKU Police Department.

We did this primarily because concerns were raised over whether or not it was fair to students being arrested for small crimes to have their name published both online and in print permanently. This seemed especially unfair to students or others arrested on campus who would later have their charges dropped or expunged from their record.

The Herald’s editorial board decided the issue was significant enough to stop publishing the reports until we’d come up with a solution to the problem.

We’ve finally resolved the issue, and we’ve decided running crime reports is in the best interest of the public and the campus community.

We are now publishing the reports without names. This ensures the members of the WKU community still get access to trends in crimes and the locations of crimes on campus. It also ensures we as a publication do not cause unnecessary harm.

Our decision does come with exceptions. In order to make sure we can effectively report on news in the WKU community, the Herald will still report on crimes committed by prominent figures. This includes:

• SGA members

• Athletes and coaches who are members of WKU’s athletic programs

• WKU faculty and staff

• Members of WKU’s administration

• Top leadership members of student organizations

Local politicians/officials

Other political figures (if they are arrested locally)

• Others deemed newsworthy by the editorial board

In addition to those listed, the Herald will also publish stories about incidents in which employees of the College Heights Herald, Talisman or Cherry Creative are arrested.

The Herald will also handle significant crimes on a case-by-case basis, potentially choosing to reveal names of those involved depending on the significance of the case.

Our crime reports will come directly from WKUPD’s crime logs, ensuring they are as accurate as they can be. We also may publish information from the Bowling Green Police Department in our crime reporting as well.

We hope this decision will allow us to resume our reporting of crimes committed, which allows our readers to stay informed on when, where and what types of crimes are being committed.

We hope this decision will also minimize harm that could potentially come from this reporting.

This decision affects only the crime reporting done now and in the future. We will not be retroactively implementing this policy, and our previously published crime reports will be left as they are.

Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Chisenhall can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @JSChisenhall.