— Sarah Pulliam Bailey (@spulliam) May 1, 2012
“Editors hesitated to assign a story about their own employees,” writes Virginian-Pilot editorial writer Michelle Washington. “Would it seem like the paper treated its employees differently from other crime victims?”
[The two reporters'] story has not, until today, appeared in this paper. The responding officer coded the incident as a simple assault, despite their assertions that at least 30 people had participated in the attack. A reporter making routine checks of police reports would see “simple assault” and, if the names were unfamiliar, would be unlikely to write about it.
I’ve invited editor Denis Finley to comment the paper’s editorial decision. (I just received an out-of-office reply from Finley. I’ve now emailed managing editor Maria Carrillo.)
UPDATE: Here is the managing editor’s response:
As Shelly noted in her column, we handled this situation as if it involved any two people in our community. Police, at this point, still have it officially listed as a “simple assault.” It has not been determined that this was a hate crime. It’s beyond ludicrous for folks to assume that we would not report on this to protect those who attacked our reporters.