Shouldn’t print youth’s name


Let me begin by saying that I am not a longtime subscriber of your weekly publication. The mid-February edition was the first issue I have read in a while. I was appalled with the reporting of the cover story (Feb. 21) of an 11-year-old boy who had been arrested days earlier. While I noted your paper had listed, incorrectly, charges pressed against this child (as did many other area newspapers) I was shocked at one distinctive difference between The New Era’s article and all others. You printed the boy’s full name.

I find it incredibly unprofessional that your staff knowingly put this child’s name on the front page of his hometown weekly, the only paper in Oregon to print his name. If printing student gossip and presenting it as factual information is any representation as to the level of due diligence vested in your weekly, then The New Era is better suited as fire starter than as an informational newspaper. I didn’t see interviews with school staff or the police department quoting facts about the case, just comments from other 11-year-old children. In a small community like Sweet Home, you have effectively labeled this boy for many years to follow.

I do not, in any way, condone bringing a firearm into a public building, as the boy has been charged with. The boy was not charged with menacing, as you so presented. I just hope you understand that a child of his age (weeks from his 11th birthday) has no concept of the consequence of an action such as this. I know you also understand the effect of listing such a young child’s name and hope you and your family don’t have to explain to a pre-teen relative why their local paper wrote lies about them.

Skyler Banta