Not much to add to what Ronn had to say a few days back in his Looking for Patricia Meili post, which linked/quoted Allan Wolper's Editor & Publisher editorial, It's Time to Name the Central Park Jogger:
The reason reporters keep the names of rape victims out of their newspapers is to spare them the stigma associated with the crime. There is a reason for that. We are a country that still paints a scarlet letter on rape victims.
But the Jogger doesn't need to be protected anymore. She is lifting her veil because she wants to tell the world who she is and how she came back from near death to conquer life. She overcame. She is doing what many people want her to do: destigmatize the status of rape victims. She is opening her life to scrutiny.
Her name is not a journalism secret. New York newspaper editors know who she is. She was identified in police records after she was attacked. WCBS-TV, WNBC-TV, WPIX-TV, and the New York Amsterdam News, a leading black weekly newspaper, all identified her before enclosing her in a cloak of anonymity.
Well, other than questioning why he felt it necessary to describe the New York Amsterdam News as "a leading black weekly newspaper." Seeing as there's no corresponding description for the television stations or the "New York newspaper[s]" whose editors know the woman's name.
I vaguly remember reading that there were revisions going on in light of the convictions being overturned -- something Wolper describes as putting the story "once again [. . .] on Page One," although I'm not seeing it that way myself -- seems the mainstream media and bloggers were much more enthusiastic about piling on Trent Lott than on discussing any of the ramifications of this story -- but perhaps this is mere oversight on my part.
Bonus round: Naming the Central Park Jogger by Kelly McBride at Poynter Online:
I want to stop short of saying journalists should never identify a rape victim without consent. There may be a compelling reason to do just that. But I don't find one in this case. The public does not need to know her identity now. If we identify the Central Park Jogger against her will, I worry about the millions of other rape victims out there. Will they view the media with distrust? Will they hesitate to report crimes to the police, fearing their names will be published? Will they be less likely to help us tell their stories and document what has become a hidden epidemic in America? Should we name the Central Park Jogger? I say no. There is no journalistic reason compelling enough to do. And it could further injure our abilities to tell other rape stories, if rape survivors come to view the media as the enemy.
That's the last paragraph. I somehow missed the bit of the essay that provides justification for her conclusion in this particular instance, one where the rape survivor has a book coming out and a publisher who's looking to "identify her first so they can maximize their profits," according to a professor of media ethics quoted in Wolper's piece.
But this is wandering into some confluence of race, sex, crime and corporate dominance of the media, and is more a topic for a dissertation than a blog entry.
Plus, there's always the distinct possibility that I'm completely wrong.
Always wrth bearing in mind, that.