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Marshall County High School Shooting Prompts Debate on Naming Juveniles

Nicole Erwin, WKMS

A week after the Marshall County High School shooting, media outlets are grappling with the question of whether to identity the juvenile suspect. 

Kentucky’s largest newspaper released the 15-year-old’s name in a story earlier this week. 

Amanda Crawford teaches media ethics at Western Kentucky University.  She says while the teen’s identity has been widely disseminated online, journalists are held to a higher standard for publicizing such information.

"In this case, we have a 15-year-old suspect who, as of yet, hasn't been charged as an adult, and in our court system, people are innocent until proven guilty," Crawford stated.  "That's really hard to think about in a case like this where people believe they know exactly what happened and exactly who did it."

WKU Public Radio has chosen not to identify the alleged gunman as long as his case remains in juvenile court.  A judge will soon decide if the teen should be tried as an adult. 

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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