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Arts, Culture & Religion

Salt Lake Tribune Is Now Accepting ‘Redaction Requests’ For Past Coverage

A photo of a marquee that reads 'The Salt Lake Tribune'
Cool Hand Luke
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Wikimedia Commons
The Salt Lake Tribune is now accepting requests from people who want their name or image removed from previous reporting.

The Salt Lake Tribune recently announced they are now accepting requests from people who want their name or image removed from past coverage.

Lauren Gustus is the executive editor of the Tribune. She said people featured in past stories — especially those involving minor crimes — can submit redaction requests online.

The policy comes in an effort to recognize the changing landscape in journalism. The paper hopes to strike a balance between people’s “right to know” and their “right to be forgotten.”

“We don't want to be an obstacle for others as they look at their future and the success that they would like to build for themselves and their families,” Gustus said.

She said local journalism should work to be helpful to the community.

“Across the country our understanding of how we treat others, I would hope, is evolving,” she said. “In the past, [while] we may have gotten it factually correct ... I think there's a realization that local journalism should be constructive and ultimately we should be looking to build stronger communities.”

A committee consisting of reporters, editors and photojournalists will review requests on a case by case basis. Then, Gustus will make the final decision.

Darcy Van Orden is the executive director of the Utah Justice Coalition. She said she was excited to hear about the Tribune’s policy change.

Van Orden said publishing mugshots can have lasting impacts on someone’s reputation. She said a friend of hers who was falsely accused and then arrested is still feeling the ramifications of his picture being published.

She said her friend was asked to step down from his position by his employer, even though the case was dismissed and he was found innocent.

“He's had this impressive career at the executive level and yet it's been so traumatic for him that he had to go to the full point of changing his name,” Van Orden said.

She said it can be extremely damaging for formerly incarcerated individuals who are trying to rebuild their lives and it can affect their ability to get a job or housing.

Van Orden said the criminal justice system disportionately impacts lower income people and people of color. She said in America “you get the justice you can afford.” It often creates a cycle where people aren’t able to escape their past and move on.

“They have gone through the grueling and tough work to move on with their lives. We as a society owe it to them to allow them to transition back into society,” Van Orden said.

However, Gustus said the Tribune will not remove entire stories. The committee will meet monthly to review requests.

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