Letter from the editors: Coverage of race and crime

Jan. 9, 2022, 7:52 p.m.

The Stanford Daily takes great pride in its efforts to inform and serve our campus community. One way we do this is through reporting on crime that occurs on campus by publishing a weekly Police Blotter, which consists of a selection of incidents as recorded in the Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) bulletin and articles about AlertSU incidents.

However, The Daily recognizes that many students and community members of color, especially Black individuals, feel uncomfortable and fearful when such reporting is published, as it puts marginalized groups at risk of racial profiling and discrimination. This runs contrary to The Daily’s mission of serving the Stanford community with timely and impactful journalism.

With this in mind, we created a crime coverage policy to guide our reporting going forward. The policy has been added to our public policies and standards page and reads as follows: 

The Daily does not include race and ethnicity in its coverage of crimes around campus as of Dec. 1, 2021. There are three exceptions to this principle: 

  1. The Daily will include race and ethnicity in its coverage of crimes that directly involve race. Racial and ethnic details will only be included when they are explicitly relevant to the crime being reported. 
  1. The Daily will include race and ethnicity in its coverage of cases in which missing persons are being sought so as to aid in the finding of such individuals. In these cases, we will include as detailed descriptions of the missing person(s) as possible. We will remove the racial or ethnic reference(s) once the missing person(s) are found. 
  1. The Daily will include race and ethnicity in its coverage of crime incidents in which it is in the interest of public safety for a detailed description of a suspect to be provided. In these cases, we will include suspect descriptions with detail and specificity so as to ensure that a broad group of people cannot be presumed suspects. We will remove the racial or ethnic reference(s) once the individual(s) are found. 

It is our hope that this policy will reduce feelings of discomfort that stem from our coverage of crime while also allowing us to continue reporting on information that can help keep our community safe. If you would like to discuss this policy further or have any questions or concerns, please reach out to news ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

Georgia Rosenberg is a Vol. 260 news managing editor. She was previously a Vol. 258/259 desk editor for university news. Contact her at grosenberg 'at' stanforddaily.com!Malaysia Atwater '23 is a managing editor in the News section. She is a political science major from Centennial, Colorado, and she enjoys dancing and re-watching Grey's Anatomy in her free time. Contact her at matwater 'at' stanforddaily.com.Camryn Pak is a news managing editor. Contact her at cpak 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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