The Wewekly Tally 02.18.21

FREE SPEECH

Call it “guilt by Google.” That’s how journalist and University of North Carolina Ph.D. candidate Deborah Dwyer puts it in an interview with the North Carolina Local News Workshop, describing the lingering negative effects that news coverage can have for a person. Dwyer’s current work is focused on the idea of “unpublishing,” and establishing guidelines for newsrooms on when and why to handle requests to remove old stories from the internet – even if those stories are factually accurate, but may damage a person’s reputation and ability to get a job or housing, etc. Dwyer said the first industry report on unpublishing, commissioned by Associated Press Managing Editors, was produced in 2009 by Kathy English of The Toronto Star, but there are still no industry standards for handling such requests. A big part of the premise, Dwyer told NC Local News Workshop, should be to first improve pre-publication protocol; for example, mugshots and names of all crime suspects, with no follow-up even in instances when charges are dropped. Dwyer is building a site, unpublishingthenews.com, with resources.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“The first thing I thought, was like, ‘Is this an escaped inmate?’” - 911 caller reporting what turned out to be an escaped inmate running away from Monterey County Jail (see news story).

GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK

GOOD:

Elementary students could soon return to in-person learning. That’s because as of Feb. 16, the adjusted Covid-19 case rate in Monterey County has fallen below 25 per 100,000 people. Thus K-6 schools now meet the metric under the state’s Reopening In-Person Rate Framework and Public Health Guidance. (Schools with seventh – through 12th-graders can reopen once the case rate is under 7 per 100,000.) In order to re-open, K-6 schools have to post a Covid Safety Plan and submit it to local health officials and the state’s Safe Schools for All Team. The state and local officials have seven business days to review it and give feedback. If schools don’t receive a notification their CSP is unsafe, they can then reopen on the eighth business day after applying. Schools that reopen for in-person classes have to follow guidelines issued by the California Department of Public Health.

GREAT:

The need for housing in a range of prices, including emergency shelter, remains urgent. The Monterey County Board of Supervisors and Salinas City Council took a pivotal step toward making the SHARE Center – which stands for Salinas Housing Advancement, Resource & Education – a reality on Feb. 9, when the two governing bodies met jointly and voted to award a contract to nonprofit Bay Area Community Services, based in Oakland, to operate the shelter. The effort has been years in the making, and comes from a 2018 agreement between Salinas and the county, in which the county will build the shelter and the city will operating it. The SHARE Center will replace Salinas’ warming shelter and is expected to be open by late April. “It takes courage to pivot from whatever we’re used to. We’ve had nine years of a ‘temporary’ warming shelter,” Salinas Mayor Kimbley Craig said.

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