YOUR TURN: Should We Publish Arrest Logs?
Those arrested are presumed innocent, but their identities are public record. Tell us: Is it worth publishing every name, or should Malden Patch just focus on major arrests?
No doubt about it: names on the city's arrest logs are public information, and you have every right to read them. But is it fair to post that information online before the accused have their day in court?
Malden Patch used to publish the Police Department's weekly arrest logs, but made an editorial decision to stop the practice last year.
We did this for two reasons: While the logs are public information for the purposes of transparency (no one wants the government secretly locking people up), they also lack information about the circumstances of the arrest. We felt just printing a raw log of arrest information, without context, may be a disservice to our readers.
Secondly, while not a conviction, news of even a minor arrest can have serious consequences for one's professional life and reputation - particularly unfair if you are later found not guilty or have your case dismissed.
Of course, there's room for reasonable disagreement on this one: Most local newspapers do run arrest logs, and a case could be made that choosing to publish some arrests but not others is a dicey precedent for a news organization.
A few readers have complained about the change, so I figured I would call a community meeting and ask: should we go back to printing the arrest logs every week, or keep things the way they are?
Share your thoughts or concerns with us in the comments below.