EDITORS NOTE: Ever wondered how and why the levers of press censorship in your local newspaper operate? The following memo from a Florida newspaper news editor, circulating widely on the Internet, sheds some light on the issue. Scoop would be delighted to receive more insights into what is happening behind the news from newsroom insiders. Please email contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Panama City (FL) News Herald chief copy editor Ray Glenn's memo re: war coverage
Oct. 31, 2001
... Per Hal's [News Herald executive editor Hal Foster] order, DO NOT USE photos on Page 1A showing civilian casualties from the U.S. war on Afghanistan.
Our sister paper in Fort Walton Beach has done so and received hundreds and hundreds of threatening e-mails and the like.
Also per Hal's order, DO NOT USE wire stories which lead with civilian casualties from the U.S. war on Afghanistan. They should be mentioned further down in the story. If the story needs rewriting to play down the civilian casualties, DO IT. The only exception is if the U.S. hits an orphanage, school or similar facility and kills scores or hundreds of children. See me if there are any special situations. ...
Failure to follow any of these or other standing rules could put your job in jeopardy.