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Thank you, Mr. Boyer, for addressing this issue in a sensitive manner. However, it should be clearly established that Jenna's parents learned of her accident and her death from the initial reporting of the accident in SteamboatToday. No one can blame the paper for the fact that the notification of the next of kin had not been made by the time Jenna's mother had made her usual log-in on your website on Sunday, which was her regular daily mid-morning habit. However, the details included in the story left virtually no doubt in the minds of Jenna's parents as to whom this tragic story was referring.
There is no question that you and your staff, at times like this, have an extremely difficult and unenviable job. In your own words, you are to be commended for reporting the story of the accident with respect and with accuracy. However, accuracy does not require the inclusion of superfluous details, and, indeed, basic journalistic tenets discourage the use of them. As for the curiosity of readers and witnesses, I can only opine that the notification of loved ones in a situation such as this is of paramount importance, and should take precedence over other considerations.
As mentioned, I am grateful for the sensitivity and respect you and the staff of SteamboatToday have exhibited in this situation. I'm just asking that, when reporting a tragic occurrence such as this, you put yourself in a parent's place and consider if this is the way you'd want to find out. The inclusion of those details was either inexpert reporting, or it was an intentional attempt to establish the identification of the accident victim, information that the coroner would not yet publicly release. I will leave the determination of which of the two is accurate to you.
Last login: Friday, February 11, 2011
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