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The Blue & Gray Press | July 21, 2019

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Staff editorial: Naming policy in police beat altered

The Bullet made the decision to change its crime coverage policy. Last year, the policy changed from not publishing any names in the Police Beat section of the paper to publishing names of students “arrested and charged with crimes that violate the public trust,” so long as the names were available.

The current editorial board of the Bullet felt this policy was unclear and did not accurately reflect the views of the editorial board or the UMW community. We believe this new procedure is an objective policy that reflects the UMW community and the journalistic ideals of the Bullet, as it is working under the Society of Professional Journalists’ guidelines.

By inheriting the responsibility of editorial leadership on the Bullet, the editorial board recognizes that it inherits both the esteemed aspects of the paper’s history, as well as the mistakes of previous editions.

The editorial board strives to recognize past faults and thus learn and improve by implementing change.

Below is the Bullet’s new policy on reporting crime:

The Bullet will publish the names of students who are formally charged by the University of Mary Washington Campus Police or the Fredericksburg Police Department to have committed acts of extreme violence against members of the UMW community or pose a large threat to that community, when names are released to the public.

The Bullet will publish names and write articles about criminal acts on a case-by-case basis according to the aforementioned parameters.