Shop Talk - June 16

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss whether it's appropriate to use race when describing a criminal suspect in a story.

Reporters should be trained to understand that race is not relevant if it's the only description given. For example, describing a suspect as a black male - without giving any further information - does nothing to help the public recognize the person wanted for a crime. That description is so generic that it could fit a large number of people.

But if a suspect's race is part of an overall description that includes height, weight, clothing, etc, it then makes more sense to include it.