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WRTV Suspect Identification and Mugshot Policy

Posted at 9:57 AM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 09:57:31-05

WRTV does not identify suspects who have not been formally charged by the prosecutor.

Depending upon the circumstances, exceptions to this policy may be made in the following instances with the approval of a news manager:

  • Crimes involving a prominent figure, or someone entrusted with the safety and welfare of others, e.g. city officials, police officers, teachers, etc. 
  • Crimes in which the police have asked the public for help in finding the named suspect. 

Even if the above criteria are met, we will take into consideration the news value of the information being provided and how far we are likely to follow the case. If it is unlikely that we will follow the case through its resolution, we will not identify suspects.

In addition, WRTV will not use mugshots in our reporting, even when the suspect is identified by name.

It is also the policy of WRTV not to identify juvenile suspects unless they are being charged as an adult. WRTV will take great care not to name family members or include other details in our reporting that could lead to the identification of the juvenile suspect.

This policy encompasses all platforms, including broadcast, digital, social and OTT/streaming.

The purpose of this policy is to uphold journalism ethics and standards. It is our responsibility as journalists to always provide fair, balanced, and consistent reporting, particularly in the age of digital media where the stories we choose to publish exist in perpetuity.