The Associated Press announced it will no longer name suspects in "brief stories about minor crimes" in which additional coverage is unlikely, AP's Farnoush Amiri reported on Tuesday.
The new guidance is aimed at minimizing harm for suspects down the line, especially when charges are later dropped or a suspect is later acquitted. As AP's Vice President for Standards John Daniszewski wrote, "These minor stories, which only cover an arrest, have long lives on the internet," and "can make it difficult for the suspects named ... to later gain employment or just move on in their lives."
Reporters will also no longer link to outside stories in which a subject's identity is revealed, nor will they include mugshots, "since the accused would be identifiable by that photo as well." In addition, AP will no longer use the appearance of a mugshot to justify newsworthiness. Publicizing mugshots has become an increasingly criticized practice.
The so-called "huge departure" has received praise from U.S. journalists.
Over half of the world's population "sees AP journalism every day," the outlet notes.