Rivertonradio.com (KTAK/KVOW) made a couple of bad editorial decisions last Friday in a story about the death of a Wind River Indian Reservation man whose body was found in the mountains in December.
First, the reporter buried the lede, which was the accidental nature of the death, caused by hypothermia. Instead, the story focused on the fact that the victim was highly intoxicated at the time he died. It was certainly worth calling attention to the booze, but it wasn’t the lede.
Next, in a display of thoughtlessness and insensitivity, the Web site inexplicably ran clip art of a neon liquor-store sign beside the story. It’s a little like publishing clip art of a mangled car next to a story about a tragic automobile death, or maybe clip art of a revolver and spent shell casing with a story about a high-profile suicide.
At best, these reporting decisions are in bad taste. Given stereotypes about American Indians and alcohol, they made for downright bad journalism.