Amstetten and Journalistic Values – Andie Katschthaler

I am a journalist. And I’m still young. Hence I’m (still) of the idealistic, change-the-world kind. I still think I might actually be able to contribute to making this world a more bearable place. But lately I’ve begun to ponder whether I’m in the right field for that.

I’m not one much for blood and gore, and words like “scandalous”, “explosive” and “sensational” in a newspaper article usually make me twitch. Yet in my line of work I’m quite regularly exposed to this side of journalism. And every time some poor person’s life story gets exploited for public viewing, every time I’m more or less nudged to put a spin on a story, and every time I get criticised for not writing “thrilling” enough – I throw up a little in my mouth.

So I’ve been trying to stay the hell away from this week’s drama-story about Amstetten. The fact that some media released the name of the victims makes me incredibly angry. What about protecting victims? Ever heard of that? And while I don’t give a damn about the bastard I still think it defies journalistic values to show his face in the media as long as he’s not actually and officially convicted. Even if it is pretty obvious that he did it (and actually confessed later on): as long as he has to be presumed innocence (in dubio pro reo, anyone?) his face must not be shown as long as it’s not in the public interest (e.g. looking for a murderer on the run, etc.)

Is it only me? Or does the media go to far?

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