The Identity of Minors

Friday, March 22, 2013


Even as the media and public fitfully reckoned with the Steubenville verdict, a similar case is playing out in Torrington, Connecticut. Like Steubenville case, a lot of bullying and ridicule of the victims has taken place on social media. Unlike the Steubenville case, the local paper, the Connecticut Register Citizen, chose to publish the bullying tweets from high school students, with their twitter handles and images unredacted. The editor of the newspaper, Matt DeRienzo talks to Bob about his decision to print that information


Four Tet - 0181-01


Matt DeRienzo

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [5]

In regard to Mr. Gardner: if privacy of minors is a big issue, then keep them off of Twitter -- A GLOBAL INTERNET CHAT ROOM!!

I applaud Mr. DiRienzo!! And if that had been my kid doing the bullying, I'd have wanted to know and the whole town to know -- that's how you stop a bully.

Jun. 11 2013 12:10 PM
clopha deshotel from Bridgeport CT

The reporter for the original story was a woman, and she did the right thing. Look at Torrington a year from now and see what has changed. Will OTM do that? Someone else?

Mar. 28 2013 04:03 AM
BabbleWorthy from Princeton, NJ

I think you are making the wrong comparison by comparing the publishing of Twitter handles/names owned by children and publishing the names of children who have committed crimes. A far better comparison is using the names of children being interviewed for a story. Twitter users have the option to protect their tweets. These teens chose to have their voices put out into the aether. They chose to make those opinions public. Because of this, using their names and/or Twitter handles is no more ethically controversial that using their names if they were tweeting about something trivial.

Mar. 25 2013 01:04 PM
b Turk from Minneapolis, MN

During this program, Bob Garfield repeatedly gave editor, Matt DeRienzo a hard time, asking him if he thought he was doing the ‘right’ thing by “breaking the rules” and publishing the names of the teens who were ridiculing and bullying rape victims. It seems as though On-the Media’s, Bob Garfield had much more concern for the bullies than for the actual victims.

I say kudos to Matt Rienzo and the Connecticut Register Citizen. Perhaps the names of the parents of the bullies should have also been published.

Mar. 24 2013 04:38 PM
Bob Gardner from Randolph, MA

The really disquieting thing about this interview is the way Matt DiRienzo chortled his way through it.
The privacy of minors is a serious issue, and includes a lot things besides twitter feeds. It includes criminal justice, adoption and a host of other issues.
So I would expect that if this principle no longer applied that someone would have a cogent and well thought out argument to justify this far reaching change.
Instead we get Matt DiRienzo. Each of his responses seems to dissolve into giggles after 140 characters. The logic seems to be that if a teenager has the bad judgement not to use a fake identity on twitter, it's okay to hold them up to public ridicule. So, if the next time, the tweets are done under an assumed name, he'll let them pass?
Taking tweets that are already public and then republishing them to maximize the embarrasment of your targets is not a way to fight bullying--it's the best way to perpetuate it.
Thirteen year olds should not be taken advantage of because they don't have the judgement to act responsibly--that's the whole point of statuatory rape laws. Matt DiRienzo and the teenage bullying twitterers seem to have the identical mindset: "What they did is okay because their respective victims were asking for it."

Mar. 24 2013 12:29 PM

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