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Public editor: Readers weigh in on whether to name Amanda Berry’s daughter

A sign hangs on the porch of the home of Amanda Berry on Wednesday in Cleveland.

Tony Dejak/AP

I've heard from many readers who strongly agree that the media should not name Amanda Berry's six-year-old daughter and that the media must show compassion to those who are most vulnerable. Globe and Mail staff have been told the same thing. Here's a sampling of the e-mails that arrived in my inbox from readers who applaud the policy:

– "Thanks. She deserves to be able to live a life free from her ugly past."

– "We do not need U.S.-styled trash reporting in Canada."

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– "So agree. This is not something the public needs to know."

The Associated Press, which is the American national wire service, had this to say on the subject: "The Associated Press does not usually identify people who may be victims of sexual assault, but the names of the women were widely circulated by their families, friends and law enforcement authorities for years during their disappearance." This is also true for The Globe and Mail. In most circumstances, victims of sexual assault are not named and there must be a reason why they would be named, such as the ones above.

On another issue, I heard from one reader who objected to an online headline, which was quickly fixed on hearing the complaint. The pointer said: "Jenna Talackova: Is this the new (transgendered) Mary Tyler Moore?" While the intent was to suggest Ms. Talackova's new reality show (the "this" in the sentence) would be the new Mary Tyler Moore show, it wasn't clear and could be read as describing Ms. Talackova as the "this." It was fixed to say "Is Jenna Talackova the new (transgendered) Mary Tyler Moore?" And here's a question for readers: How many of you remember that show? Two headlines appeared in the paper: One on the Life/Arts front in 72 points (very large) and in all capital letters said: SHE'S GONNA MAKE IT AFTER ALL. Inside the paper is a large photo of Ms. Talackova with the headline: The new girl.

Most days there are corrections on Page 2 of the paper and on articles online. Many of these are caught by readers and they are greatly appreciated.

If you see any errors or would like to comment on any journalistic matters, please e-mail me at

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About the Author
Public Editor

Sylvia Stead has been a reporter and editor at the Globe since 1975, after graduating from the University of Western Ontario in Journalism with a minor in Political Science. She won the Board of Governors Award there in 1974. As a reporter, Sylvia covered courts, education and Queen's Park. More


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