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I apologize if this has been suggested, but as a trained web designer I think the best way to deal with such archive material, is to in cases such as this one include links to the continuing story, this was the conclusion is readily available to the searcher. This could be done, it would take some time, and perhaps the Advocate could ask for Student assistant as a project for webdesign and or database student projects or intern (unpaid) experience.
Thus a problem (potentially) can become not only a problem solved, but a boon for the College (VC) or (UHV) to use to further education and to help the Advocate to become more meaningful for the Students...
A old mentor of mine once said to me, mistakes are just opportunities waiting for the right person to discover them.
To clarify one point raised: The Google search results do now show the coverage by the originating newspaper. These results also show the charges were later dropped.We've contacted the originating newspaper to see whether the professor has made a similar request there. So far, he has not.We discuss the idea of asking Google to group all of the coverage together, but that ultimately is up to the Internet company. Other than by removing content, newspapers can't control what Google does. Perhaps, in the future, newspapers will be able to work more closely with Google to handle such issues.
Given that the Society of Professional Journalists' code of ethics (SPJCE): seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently and be accountable, has been followed by the Advocate: this situation is not about that. What we have here is an early 21st Century North American contemporary situation/problem that can be dealt with by the Advocate using the same SPJCE: by reporting, which I am confident has already been done, the clearing of all charges . It seem reasonable that Google could, and ethically should, connect the two story (the original and the clearing of all charges) using their code so that the original is tagged with its resolution.
First, why does only the Advocate article come up and not the articles from the original publisher of the story? I would think the original publisher of the story would be the one to be responsible for the follow up articles (which you stated they did). The way the articles are searched is more a function of google, not the newspapers. However, to be a good steward of the second code in the code of ethics, "minimize harm", one might want to work with google to see if there is a way to remedy this problem for newspaper articles in general. Because of the overwhelming access to information, the Newspaper Association of America might consider the bigger issue of how far beyond your printed page and website does your code of ethics reach? Would you want to/could you limit the search engine companies that access your archives to only those that will abide by a newpaper's code of ethics?? Could you build partnerships with entities that have access to sharing your archives so that as the information age moves along you can address these issues together?? Just a thought.
I don't think it is the responsibility of the owner of the archive (the newspaper) to examine the contents to assure that they are fair and appropriate. But if any member of the public requests that an addition or explanation be added at a later date to an archive, I agree that there should be a mechanism whereby such a request can be entertained, and if reasonable, complied with in a spirit of fairness.
Any article can be imperfect at the time of publication, and if new information comes to light at a later date, both truth and fairness are served by an amendment to the archive.
Picture a world where there is an interactive database, a wiki site, of each Joe or Mary citizen. Where every bit of electronic information from store purchase to library withdrawals, financial and health information, as well as any and all legal files, even including e-mail, web searches, and chat logs is stored, collated, and available to anyone else with the correct password.
Thank you for the suggestions. We also discussed trying to ensure any follow-up stories on criminal cases appear online. How those stories appear on Google search results would be a big question. In this case, the Advocate apparently didn't carry any other AP story on the case. However, the newspaper that originated the coverage does have a story about charges being dropped. That story does appear in the search results.
I think joseexist has the inkling of a good idea. In this case, there should be a footnote to the article indicating that the case was not only dropped, but the arrest record was ordered expunged. While it would not be feasible for the Advocate to proactively go through decades of articles, it seems only fair that you correct/amend misleading articles on a case-by-case basis as they are brought to your attention. The same should apply to Google and all other search engines.
Any public information, such as arrest records, by the mere nature of existing, need to be archived. The archives themselves should be updated to include any resolution to the case that has a pertenent affect on the citizen invloved in the incident.
Wether the proffessor was arrested mistakenly, provoked into actions that resulted in the arrest, or was arrested evidentially, an arrest did take place. The last leg of the story should be that responsibility is exercised over the archive to include details of the eventual outcome of the situation.
Any entieties involved in archiving information(newspapers, libraries, government offices) should keep said info as completly updated as possible. Any researchers or search engine creators and users are responsible for whatever they put into or glean from any archive they create or use. I'm on the side of the Advocate. That they have such extensive archives is testament to the long history of that establishment and this city as well.
An apology in all sincerity should be the most the proffessor recieves. If he wants more, he should approach the arresting department of law enforcement and ask them for the same.
Need a little help finding this archive site -- this link: http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/searc...did not work.