Why no photo on story?

One of the most-shared stories this week on most media sources around town is running with a photograph of one of the people involved, but that image has not appeared on KansasCity.com or in the print edition of The Kansas City Star. Why?

Reporting on bomb threats

Should journalists report on bomb threats? They’re actually fairly common at schools and workplaces, yet The Star generally doesn’t write about them. But should a newsroom have a iron-clad policy not to report on them at all?

Error corrected, repeated on the same day

An error from Monday’s paper about Turkey Trot events was corrected on Page A2 in print Tuesday — and repeated again in the 913 newsmagazine. How could that mistake have happened? It’s a little complex.

Michael Dixon column too much attention?

I was a bit surprised that I heard from only one reader so far about Sam Mellinger’s column on former Mizzou basketball player Michael Dixon. The column certainly doesn’t shy away from the rape accusation against Dixon, but some readers would prefer not to read features about people with such notorious pasts.

Protect children in the news

Journalists have a particular responsibility to be careful when reporting about children. Even seemingly innocuous details may cause concern to parents, teachers and others charged with kids’ well-being.

Is Charles Manson’s ‘bride’ newsworthy?

Should journalists publicize the questionable claims of attention-seeking criminals? The marriage of Charles Manson, one of the best-known criminals in modern American history, to a 25-year-old woman is all over the Internet, except KansasCity.com.

To pun or not to pun?

That is the question. I usually hear complaints about clever wordplay — but not always. Nothing’s more subjective than comedy, to be sure. But I do wonder if the fans of the puns and other levity in headlines aren’t just a not-very-vocal majority.

Why an ‘alleged’ criminal?

Why do journalists refer to even people caught in the act of a crime as “alleged” criminals? The answer is fairly basic, the principle that the U.S. justice system is based on: You are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

‘Buzzing’ no longer

When editors hear complaints about a feature in the paper, they often miss out on the fans’ input too. The last regular “Buzz” column — a roundup of usually oddball or embarrassing stories about the world of politics — ran at the end of July. But now that it’s gone, some of its fans miss it.

Chiefs fans’ ‘Indian’ dress is problematic

Readers were chagrined to see three photos in the paper from a Chiefs game showing fans wearing approximations of traditional American Indian headdresses and face paint. I find readers’ objections to these types of images reasonable. The Star should avoid publishing these types of photos casually.

How to contact The Star

I will be out of the office until Nov. 7, and won’t have access to phones or email while I’m away. In the meantime, here are some helpful bits of information for reaching someone at The Star.

Don’t want to be identified by a reporter?

When you speak to a reporter about a topic he or she is working on, and give out your name and other personal information, should you expect that to remain off the record? I think it is wise for reporters to be explicit with sources, even to the point of overkill.

Don't local taxpayers buy KCI tickets, too?

A reader makes an excellent point about bonds issued to finance an overhaul of Kansas City International Airport, and that detail makes it look less painless for area residents. While local taxpayers won't put their money directly towards paying off bonds to finance a new airport, that money still takes a short trip right back around to the bonds.

Word choice in Maryville assault story critical

Many readers have responded positively to a story about a harrowing event involving two young teen girls. But some critics called for language that is problematic. The word “rape” has a discrete legal meaning. The fact of the matter is that all charges were dropped and the boys were not convicted of anything.

Hold politicians’ feet to the fire

Readers are watching the news closely as the government shutdown continues. I agree with an emailer that journalists should be asking government officials hard questions on this and other issues. And I’ve underlined the specific concern with the newsroom.

Changes to obituaries format online

The obituaries are a very popular feature on KansasCity.com. Buty some recent changes to their format have confused readers. The new format is cleaner than the previous one, but not everything is in the same place. In particular, people are confused about how to print an individual entry.

Error only in some copies — correct or not?

Sometimes editors catch a mistake before most papers are out the door. Do you run a correction for the rest? One such case happened Friday night with the appreciation of Kansas City Lyric Opera founder Russell Patterson that appeared in print Saturday.

Don’t forget the ‘where’

Readers often let me know when a story misses the who, what, when or where. Even though The Star focuses on local news, journalists should remember not everyone knows the area equally well.