Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Case Study: Journalists invade home of terrorist suspects

LA Times photo of journalists inside the home of Syed Farook
Scott Collins of the Los Angeles Times describes how on Friday, December 4, 2015, over 100 journalists invaded the home of Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, the suspected perpetrators of the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

The invasion was seen on live television. And was soon criticized.

"You have a contaminated crime scene now," CNN legal analyst Paul Callan told host Wolf Blitzer. "They've turned a crime scene in a terrorist mass murder into a garage sale." In a suitably weird twist, states Collins, at the moment of the criticism CNN was airing a split screen with footage from inside the home, showing laundry baskets, documents, toys and other personal effects.

Questions for study: As the police department PIO, what would you do in this situation? How can you provide journalists coverage while protecting the integrity of the crime scene?

Source: Collins, Scott. (2015, December 4). Media criticized for live TV coverage from home of San Bernardino shooters. Los Angeles Times online. Retrieved from 

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