Tonawanda News

Opinion

May 13, 2014

DUVALL: For Google, searches, history and the future

Tonawanda News — Google has become the window into the world outside our physical environs. It bears questioning, then, whether we want it to be as open and transparent as the metaphor implies or whether we want the ability to leave some of our less wholesome or more embarrassing moments in the past, where we would prefer they remain.

It's a question we've wrestled with here at the Tonawanda News and one newspapers and responsible Internet news outlets have been forced to address in some form or other. 

Hardly a week goes by in this newsroom when we aren't contacted by someone who has been arrested, listed in our police blotter (sometimes years ago) and whose transgression now pops up when anyone from a blind date to a potential employer types their name in a website so ubiquitous its name is now a verb.

I sympathize, to a point, with people in this situation. The vast majority of arrests listed in our police blotter do not result in a criminal conviction. Most are relatively minor offenses. That means most people live a law-abiding life thereafter and the charges are dropped. Sometimes — most times, actually — paying your debt to society simply means not doing the bad thing again.

We must also acknowledge our own limitations as a media outlet. We publish arrests but given the drawn out nature of the court proceedings that follow we do not publish the court's eventual disposition as a matter of course. It would take the reporters here virtually all day to track down the various ends to every arrest listed in previous blotters. Practically speaking, it would be impossible.

To address this point locally, last year our newsroom amended our policy on police reports on our website. If someone who's been arrested would like us to append the arrest brief with a note about the case's disposition (usually that the charges were dismissed), we will do so if the person provides us with court documentation proving it.

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Opinion
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • OUR VIEW: Arson suspect never deserved bail Two of the 11 fires reported on Fifth Avenue could have been prevented with some jurisprudence in evaluating whether the suspect, Michelle Johnston, deserved to be offered bail. Given the obvious nature of a repeat offender who was charged with nine felony arson counts, bail never should have been offered in this case.

    July 25, 2014

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014