After I posted an item earlier today on the New Haven Independent’s decision not to identify Raymond Clark, the “person of interest” in the murder of Yale University student Annie Le, I invited editor Paul Bass to comment on his decision.
Bass replied by e-mail, telling me that “you’re so right — it’s futile. But we wanted to be consistent.” He added that “we originally broke the story about this suspect. The national media said a student was the suspect. We reported that, no, it was a lab tech, and we gave details that wouldn’t lead the public to be able to find him. We had the name pretty early, and some good info, but decided to go with the basic story.”
In a follow-up e-mail, Bass explained, “We do have quite a strong policy about withholding names. In our routine police stories, we rarely name people (non-public figures) arrested unless there’s a compelling reason, or we’ve gotten their side. We might be wrong, for sure. Lotta back and forth. Maybe a futile high horse thing. Don’t know.”