My wife is from Sparta ,Tn.Several years ago , her father purchased her a subscription to the local paper, The Expositor ,to keep up with local news. I often read the paper because I enjoy reading about small town life and the fabric it adds to being a Tennessean.However , I was shocked at a new feature the paper has added.
The Expositor has chosen to publish " Arrested in White County ".The Sparta, Tn.Newspaper publishes the names, photographs , and criminal charges of all those folks that have been arrested in White County. from January 1st to January 25th. The Sparta paper does include a disclaimer that all those in this piece of journalism is innocent until they are convicted.However, once their picture is in print the damage is done.From reading the eight page report , the most popular crimes are promotion of methamphetamine manufacture and domestic assaults.
Small town papers in Tennessee have routinely listed local criminal court news which lists all those that have been convicted.Once you are convicted, it is fair game to have your name published. Heck, I even think it is all right to publish your photograph of an alleged criminal if there is a news article about a crime that occurred in the community. Even The New York Times publishes newsworthy booking photographs like those stupid kids that tried to tap a Louisiana Senator’s phone.However "Arrested in White County is not news or journalism.It is written to sell papers and advertising.The Expositor is trying to make a profit from the misfortunes of those charged with a crime. Marshall Bail Bonding and Sparta Bail Bonding were the only two ads for this fine feature.
I wonder what is going to happen when a person accused of a crime is fired from his job and is later exonerated. Is the paper going to print a retraction.