At our last #MuckedUp we dipped our toes into the murky waters of covering tragedy, so this week let's wade a little deeper. During our most recent Tuesday tweetchat, we deliberately ended on a cliffhanger question: What limitations and concerns should be considered when reporting on an alleged killer, especially one involved in a mass murder? And that’s exactly the query we’ll use as a springboard for this next #MuckedUp. In a world where fame and infamy ought to be each other's ethical antithesis, we discover that sometimes they become functionally synonymous. In other words, what roles and responsibilities must we as journalists face in offering a limelight to criminals who may have been seeking just that? As with most topics, it seems reporters once again confront a difficult balance in reporting information while minimizing harm.
During our last discussion, we happened to cite Poynter’s Kelly McBride and her exploration of the right way to publish a killer’s deranged manifesto. Now we’re pleased to report McBride will join us for this week’s tweetchat, to pilot a discussion that expounds on that idea. As Poynter’s resident ethicist (and soon-to-be Vice President for Academic Programs), McBride is a writer, teacher and one of the country’s leading voices on media ethics. We are delighted and eager to pick McBride's brain on this troublesome but crucial topic of coverage. Log on to Twitter tomorrow evening at 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST, and follow the #MuckedUp hashtag to add your insights to our hour-long tweetchat. If you have any specific questions you're anxious to answer, be sure to email or tweet them to host Kirsten by tonight!