Publishing all of the mugshots of people committing crimes has been a way to publicly shame people and alert the public to dangerous threats in their community, but since many of the mugshots show dark faces, news sites need to rethink this “racist” practice.
I recently reported on how the Tampa Bay Times was nixing their mugshots to fight against “negative stereotypes” (aka the truth).
Now I have come to find out that the Orlando Sentinel is also getting rid of mugshots. It seems to essentially be the statement made by the Tampa Bay Times.
We’ve come to realize that without context, the galleries have little journalistic value and may have reinforced negative stereotypes.
AL.com (which includes Birmingham News, Mobile Register, Huntsville Times) is also picking up on the progressive trend by eliminating the truth about the color of crime.
This is a first step in reimagining our coverage of crime and justice.
“Reimagining” coverage of crime and justice means that the readers will be left up to their imaginations when guessing the racial makeup of the criminals.
Although we previously used almost all mugshots that were made available to us by law enforcement agencies, many readers viewed our use of them as symbolic of our company’s view of their community; our hope is to eradicate that perception.
They want black people to know that they love them, even though the news sites have been littered with black mugshots of violent offenders. Besides, it’s the “racist pigs” taking the mugshots who are the real problem here, not the criminals.
They might still show some individual mugshots associated with particular stories, likely when the criminals are White, but readers will no longer be able to see all the mugshots together and notice just how “dark” things have gotten.