Recent mass shootings in the U.S. led some journalists to declare they will not report the shooter's name in such cases. There are concerns that naming a shooter could turn him/her into a celebrity and could inspire copycats.
The Shop Talk panelists disagree with the policy.
Jonathan Ahl called it a publicity stunt; a demonstration of self-righteousness. He said someone’s name and background are newsworthy and important elements of a story.
Ahl said a policy of not naming shooters is a poor substitute for a thorough investigation into why a mass shooting happened and what might be done to prevent one from happening again.
Jasmine Crighton said the shooter’s name is a fundamental part of the story. She said stories don’t have to focus entirely on the shooter, but journalists should look into why a person committed such an act.
Rich Egger said the name of the shooter was an essential part of the story when two journalists were shot to death during a television broadcast in Roanoke, VA. They were killed by a former co-worker, who it turns out had a history of clashing with co-workers.