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Home >Online Support Ask The Experts >Bill Jensen

Bill Jensen (Newspaper editor)

I had written before but did not get an answer. the reporter wrote a story to run the day after my son's death, at which time the person who killed him was charged with 2nd degree murder. the story did not run. when i spoke with her she said her superiors pulled the story and would not let it run. the detective in charge of case, who knows the family, at whose home my son was killed, then was the source of the story that ran, which was full of lies. the reporter said she was very frustrated at her story not running and asked the detective why his story was so different than hers- his response" we made a mistake" does this sound strange to you?? would the reporter still have the original story she wrote? would she be willing to let me see it? she has been helpful, i have talked with her at home as she is on medical leave from the job and is now on ...long term disability. would you have to have a supeona to get a copy of the story? thank you very much.

To answer the last questions first, the reporter probably has the original story backed up on her hard drive. Getting a reporter to show you a story that never ran is never easy. It depends on what you are going to do with it. If you tell her you are only going to use it in confidence, simply for background, and will never try to publish it or post it on the web, she may be more willing to give it to you. If she has left the job, she may even be more willing. Your best bet is to ask her questions, and try to get all the information that was contained within the story. If she wanted to hide something from you, she could do the same thing over the phone or if she emails you her story (she could simply delete out details). As for the first part of your question: Yes, it does sound a little strange. Stories are pulled all the time by editors. But the fact that this officer, who had a personal relationship with the family, was the only source on the replacement story (if I am reading you correctly), sends up a bit of a red flag.

-Bill Jensen, Media

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PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW I CAN KEEP MY SON IN THE NEWS AND THE PUBLIC EYES SO MAYBE MY SON CASE WILL NOT TURN INTO A COLD CASE HE WAS MURDERED ON 01-06-01 AND IT IS STILL UNSLOVED I AM A MOTHER IN SO MUCH PAIN AND I DONT KNOW WHERE ARE WHAT TO DO ARE WHO I CAN GET TO HELP ME PLEASE MY SON CASE NO ON POMC IS 38 BUT PLEASE MEET MY SON AND HIS STORY AT www,geocities.com/jefferyola/index.html and also state to state unsloved crimes in tenn. PLEASE I LIVE IN A VERY SMALL TOWN AND I NEED SOME HELP I AM THE VICTIM AND MY SENCETANCE IS LIFE OF PAIN WITHOUT ANY PAROLE THIS IS TO MY DEATH AND YET A KILLER OF MY SON IS STILL FREE PLEASE HELP ME THANK YOU.

I am sorry for your loss. The first thing you need to do is create a strategy. News organizations need hooks for stories. Actually, right now, with the random shootings going on in Washington, D.C., this is the perfect time to get on the phone and start making some calls to news agencies in your area. It's unfortunate, but whenever something terrible happens, that's the only time that genre of crimes gets attention. Before the Washington shootings, the major crime focus other then terrorism in America was child abductions. Cases that would have gotten only local press got national attention. Now you can call up local TV and newspapers and try to get attention. Hell, you can even ask them if they are possibly related. A local paper should run the story again with new info as a ...companion peice to the national story. After this, you're other hook is that he was a paramedic. Tie it in with Sept.11 tributes and the like. Newspeople love dates, so the anniversary of the incident is another time to get the word out. Make sure you contact someone a month in advance so they can work on the story. News-people ...

- Bill Jensen, Media

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I have been told of an aggravated sexual assault on a neighbor by another neighbor. The perpetrator premeditated the act and we fear for our family’s safety. As of yet no charges have been filled only a complaint. We want this person to be brought to justice and the family removed from our neighborhood. Can local media be used to accomplish this and may be you know who can be consulted on how much to broach this subject to our children so that they are safe but not scared to death.

Because of libel issues, the paper will most probably not run the story without a charge being brought. If you feel for the safety of your family, you need to meet with the victims, or his or her family, and try to convince them to press charges.

- Bill Jensen, Media

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I am interested in beginning the process of trying to stimulate some media coverage surrounding the unsolved death of my brother in January of 2000 (Details contained in POMC.COM / Catch a killer page, case #41). Initially the local newspaper West Chester, PA Daily Local published an article a few days after he passed away which is not entirely accurate in a few of it’s statements. Since that time the police dept did an initial investigation, of which they formally closed less than 30 days after it began, with no conclusions, suspects or interest in pursuing further investigation. During the next 3 months I was able to voice our concerns to the Deputy DA who, within 24 hours of our meeting had the case re-opened on the “paper” – whether any proactive actual investigation is being conducted is anyone’s guess.

I guess I would like to get a feel for the wording I need to use to hopefully stimulate some follow up media coverage, and hopefully stimulate a renewed interest in a thorough investigation. Should I direct the correspondence to the reporter who wrote the initial article or should it be directed to someone else? Any direction you may be able to provide would be greatly appreciated.

Here's a strategy:
Newspapers like anniversaries. So contact the paper in November. Start reading the paper and see if they have run any stories on unsolved murders in the past. if they have, contact the writer. If not, send a note to the original writer and an editor.

Because of the story about the Moose Lodge and the seven victims, as a newspaper, they should want to cover it. In fact, they should jump all over it. If they don't, I would question them and find out why. It may be tied up in local politics. After that, look into the next biggest paper in the area, Don't just rely on this paper.

Go to local TV stations. Go to local radio. Play up the loss of a father. If that doesn't generate interest, discuss the connection with the Moose Lodge. Discuss the previous murders and try to find out some history of the group - but be careful.

I can't understand how the police report wouldn't have listed the names of the people involved in the initial fight. If he was a member of the Moose lodge, try to see if the organization would post a reward for information. If not, see if the Moose Lodge has a national chapter that might want to help.

-Bill Jensen, Media

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My son was murdered 11/10/02. I am taking some Family Medical Leave and while this gives me some protection for my job it is leave without pay and debts are mounting. I find that in Colorado only consortium rights are recognized in wrongful death....case law shows that the civil suits from parents have not prevailed and I cannot get representation. I would like to know how to reach the media with the facts that very objectionable ads were run by a major ski corporaton one month before my son's murder and would like to make all effort to publicize the facts. Are any TV talk shows or "magazine" shows known to be supportive to airing this type info?

I am sorry for your loss. If you want to get press for your story, the hook is that ad. Try to get a copy of it, whether it was a newspaper ad or a TV ad, and send some copies of it along with the story of your son to local media. [Track down the phone numbers of local press and TV stations in your area via the web, and try to speak to a person in charge instead of sending out a blind package. The personal connection betwen you and the new people is key ]. That's where I would like to start first. But you could go to TV. They might package the story with other tales of "mayhem" at ski resort.

Whenver I answer questions for the POMC, I have to try and think like an editor. And while I am not familiar with this case, the ad and the ski town "angle" should be enough to get the press interested.

-Bill Jensen, Media

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This will sound weird, but my sister and two neices deaths were overshadowed by the 9/11 tragedy. They were murdered on 9/9/01, by their father who also killed himself. We were happy not to get the media attention that we were told would follow. The family of the father did seek out media attention and made him out to be such a good guy an all around good neighbor and bunch of other lies. Now that the wrongful death suit is coming up how would we go about seeking attention from the media, once a verdict is reached, to correct any misinformation the news papers published originally. Thank you for your help.

If the journalists in your area have any imagination, they would run with this story come the anniversary of 9-11. I actually did a story on the one year anniversary on the only man murdered in New York on 9-11 other than the terror victims. It was received very well, and other papers picked up on it. Your local papers, and possibly TV news, are going to be trying to fill 9-11 content come the anniversary, so you have to hit them hard. Offer them interviews, offer them family photos. Tell them the story has not been told (journalists hate repeating other's work). There are two news pegs here: the trial, and the anniversary. If they coincide, I don't see why your local newspaper wouldn't cover it.

-Bill Jensen, Media

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hello bill, i am writing in hope that u can help me keep the story of my grand daughter and her half sister in the media. i have already had an interview with channel 5 cincinnati and it was aire about 3 months ago. but now i cant find anyone to run the story again. i have wrote to national news as well as local news stations. july 17,2001 my grand daughter chelsea supposedly found between the bed and wall she was 18 months old her mother and her new boyfriend were the only two present at the time. (this is my sons child) any way coroner ruled her death accidental ashpyxiation due to compression of chest, five months later this mother gave birth to a second child and that baby died at 3 weeks old curoner ruled hers homicidal asphyxiation and then changed chelsea's to the same. both times it was the mother and the father of the second baby there. no one has been charged in the deaths of these to precious babies. any help u can give will be greatly appreciated.

I'm sorry for your lose. With an older incident like this, you will need a hook of some kind to get the media's attention. July 17 is the second anniversary, so I would start calling up TV stations and newspapers now. This is the type of story that media people would like to run with around a date. It is also a local angle . Don't tell whoever you talk to at any other media outlet that the story ran somewhere else. If they ask, tell the truth. But don't offer up the info--newspeople always like to be the first. Bottom line--just start calling right away so they can tie to this date. I hope this helps.

-Bill Jensen, Media

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How do I keep the media interested in what is happening regarding the inefficiency & unethical practices of their local police and perhaps their solicitor? My son was killed by hit and run driver in another state other than his home. I want the local paper for the location of the slaying to report the facts as they happen. It is unbelievable what the authorities have done so far. How can I accomplish getting articles in their newspapers? Thank you for any possibilities. They published one of my articles initially but from the very beginning of this nightmare it has been very difficult for me or the news reports to get accurate information from the local authorities.

I am sorry for your loss. The media and the local authorities have different relationships everywhere. Some may be buddy buddy, others may love to fight. If one paper doesn't pick up on the story, go to the next paper. same with radio and TV. The fact that they got to keep the car is troubling. I know it will be hard, and to some people, gruesome, but your description of their car would make a great story, how these guys are driving around with the murder (or manslaughter) weapon. Most papers would want to write the story themselves. But if that doesn't work, put info up on your website. Your brother rode bikes. Find some friend;y faces within that culture around the area he was killed. They will get behind this case.

-Bill Jensen, Media

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My sister, 49, was found dead in her home on the morning of Jan. 8, 2002. She was a school teacher and was at home with her 14 year old son and 17 year old pregnant daughter who went into labor that night and gave birth the next morning. The police did not investigate at first but sent her to the state crime lab where they decided possible suffocation. Anyway, the police came to her home again on the afternoon of the following day. They came to the conclusion that her son had held her face down in her bedroom floor and mechanical asphyxiation was what happened. However, the medical examiner left her cause of death and manner as undetermined but found no reasons for her to have died. Consequently, life insurance was paid to a murderer! We have contacted Dr. Bonnell and until her son confesses someday, nothing will happen. There is simply no proof. The police did not do their job. My nephew is at his father's (they were divorced) and protected by lawyer. What really stinks is the police have given up and tell us that he would probably be out now even if he had told the truth and we need to forgive him and move on. Sis is left with no justice and we are left without help. But, my heart and head needs proof of who and what happened. The sheriff first splashed all over the media that he would have an arrest in 2 days. Well, it's been almost 2 years! We would like to put my sister's picture in the paper in January with some info under it including murdered on, mother of .......... Would that be illegal? If it is paid ad, would paper do it? Nothing accusatory, just remembrance and survivors so her two kids and exhusband and everyone else do not forget. I have read other stories on site you have answered. Matricide is something I can't find info on. My sister was a very good teacher and person - no alcohol, drugs, tickets.... Her personal life was not great with the divorce and then being separated from her second husband, but why this had to happen is beyond me. Do you have any advice? Thanks for listening.

I am sorry about your loss. You can put an ad in the paper, just as long as you don't implicate anyone by name (he could then sue for libel). You should also contact the local media. Older crime cases are in vogue right now in journalism, and the case has some interesting hooks that could lead to a feature story. I hope that helps.

-Bill Jensen, Media

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I am writing in hopes of gaining knowledge as to how to get my now deceased Neice, who lived in NC. and was 7yrs old the recognition we feel she so much deserved for a long time. She lived with a woman who was her court appointed guardian (my sister as far as I was told didn't do what she needed to do in order to keep her parental rights). This woman married her now Husband about a year an a half ago. My Husband and I have belived for a very long time (5yrs.) this child was being abused, however it could not be proven, and DSS in their county disreguarded my calls of concern for this child on numberous occasions. I have all the letters back from them saying so. In the summer of 2002 my Neice was found by another family member, who decided to go there to NC. on a surprize visit with bruises all over the child (we have pictures) including down her arm in a spotted pattern, on her buttocks, and on both of her cheekbones. The relative was very frightened for the child after what she had seen and what my Neice was telling her. She took the child out of the state to our state and called the Guardian and told her why she took her. The police came to the house and took the child back, placed her in foster care for a week, then returned her to the Guardian. While we did not see this child when she had the bruises (they were all cleared up by that time) we later received the pictures of her bruises and became even more concerned that the child was in immediate danger if she was left with this evil woman. I contacted DSS in their county as well as the states DSS because I felt I was not getting anywhere with the county themselves. We were very worried for her safety and I contacted several attorneys in that area to try and help us get custody of the child. The Guardian had decided to terminate my sisters rights so she could in turn adopt this child. We were present for the termination, and prior to the termination I had sent registered letters to all the judges in that county telling them who we were and that we wanted to be concidered as a possiblity to take custody of our Niece. Still the child was left with the Guardian and her current Husband. She continuously played mind games with us knowing that we loved this child a great deal. My sisters rights were terminated in April, and I'm not sure but I believe she was adopted shortly after which would've been in June or July. By the end of August the child was found dead by the Guardian. This case is under investigation and we as the family have been told many of things concerning how my Niece was killed, but they are still waiting on other information that is wanted by the toxicology departement. This is all so very sad and frustrating that this evil person hasn't been arrested yet. Everyone is being very "hush" "hush" about all of this. The Guardian works for an attorney in that same county the child was found dead in. All along we have believed this had alot to do with how she was able to keep this beautiful child in her custody even when she should have been removed from the house several times, as well as none of them so much as looking at the possiblity of my Husband and I having custody of her since we were more then willing to co operate with them. We are stable and had the "means" to take on the responsibility of this little girl at any time. We had an established relationship with her, and she knew we loved her very much. I was told there could be a possiblity that the state is "dragging" this case out on purpose because there is a statue of limitations in lawsuits concerning this type of case, and if it does we would have no way of going after anyone that we know should be. We certainly realize all the money in the world won't bring this child back, and I would so much love for this to be done, but since it can't we feel the only way we can make a statement to these people is by hiring an attorney and going after them. DSS could've saved this childs life. I have letters that expressed over and over that we were afraid this would happen to her. God I wish we could've had more power over these people, but it appears they were convinced the child was not in danger and that we were trying to take her from people who truely loved her. This is the furthest idea from the truth. Can you tell me if you believe they could be "dragging" this out in order to cover everyone and make it impossible for us to take any legal actions toward them? There were alot of people who had the power to get this child out of that house that turned their backs on us more then a couple of times. Please tell me your opinion on this and wether this seems to have much logic to it. I am at my wits end, everyday I wake up and realize this beautiful child is no longer alive and that her death could have been prevented if lawyers, judges, and cps workers would've listened to us and taken us serious. I tried VERY hard for the past year to help her...we did all we could to try and get her removed. Even suggested she be placed in foster care if not with us. Thank you for your time in reading this.

I am sorry for your loss. The first thing I would do is contact a lawyer. With a case like this, he or she should do it pro bono (free). Next, I would contact local news organizations in the state the death occurred. Give them as much research on the case as you can give. Make copies of the letter, give them a timeline, give them the names and phone numbers of the people who gave you the runaround. You didn't write in the letter what the child died of. Was it from abuse? If it was, any news organization would look into it. I hope this helps.

-Bill Jensen, Media

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Do you know how I can find information about the murder of my 8 year old nephew in law? He was murdered by his father, in Nevada. The father buried him in the basement, then took his wife Margaret and other children, and fled to Idaho. He was arrested in Idaho, and brought back to Nevada. I believe this was between 1980-1983.

Contact the local library in the town the murder occured. Call the librarian and ask for the periodicals department. They should have old newspapers on file that may have run the story about his death. Also, librarians tend to know all the town's news from the past, so it might jog their memory. Hope that helps.

- Bill Jensen, Media

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My 22 year old niece was stabbed to death 2/5/02 outside on her front porch by a jelous ex boyfriends girlfried. The trial will be coming up on Jan 15, 2004 in Utah. There was only a brief mention of it on the news the day after the murder. How may I go about getting my nieces story told. The only testimonys that the judge has is from the murderers sisters (who were with her at the time of the murder) and only 1 testimony from my niece who was being assaulted by the sisters of the murderer while my niece was being stabbed. That leaves my family and I having to write letters to the judge so that he can hear our side of the story. What can we do?

I'm sorry for your loss. Since the trial is coming up soon, you must move quickly. Call your local paper. Call the Sal Lake Tribune (810) 237-2045. Call them as soon as you read this. If this is a trial of a woman killing another woman (which is rare in the courts), they should want to cover it. And if they will be covering it, they will want to contact you and tell your neice's story. TV stations should follow after the story appears in print. Hope this helps.

- Bill Jensen, Media

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The first couple of days after the murder of my mother in law the media was here but we were to freaked out to talk to them. We haven't here from them again what should I do?

I am sorry for your loss. It is natural not to want to talk to the media after such a traumatic event. I am not familiar with the case, and do not know why you would want to talk to them again. If the case is still unsolved, they would probably be willing to talk to you again. If you give them a call and explain the case, they should run something on it. If a suspect is in custody, you may have to wait for trial before the media would want to run another story.

- Bill Jensen, Media

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When a newspaper prints a story about someone that is murdered, is the piece always accurate when it comes to details? If not, what recource does the family have if something was printed and it was not accurate?

The stories that are published after a person is murdered are not always accurate. While journalists try to get all the facts right, details often slip through the cracks. If something was printed that is not accurate, you should call the newspaper and ask to speak with the editor in charge of the section the story appeared in. Explain to them the details they got wrong. If it is cut and dry (names, dates, locations) they should print a correction. If it is more vague (explaining the relationship of the deceased with others, etc...) you will have to explain your case and tell the paper where they went wrong. They will either print a correction or explain to you why they wrote it that way. As for legal recourse, the law states you cannot libel someone who is dead. If the story is libelous to someone who is living, you may have a case. 99.9% of reporters do all their homework and want to not only tell the story, but also see that the perp is brought to justice.

- Bill Jensen, Media

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When my son was first found in a ditch over a year ago they at first thought he had been shot the boy he was with then claimed he jumped (but failed to inform police until he was took into custody the next day) the Crawfordsville Indiana Montgomery County Sheriffs Dept. ran a article saying my son had jumped from the truck and was no longer being investigated as a homocide. I know and so does the mcsd that my son was placed in the ditch after death after finding several of these articles placed around my town and the town where the boys mother lives i went to the mcsd and asked them to retract the article they flat out told me there would be NO retraction. I made my own article with my info telling only the truth (with proof of everthing i say) showed it to the sheriff and told him it was time the public knew the truth and i also told him i had 2 newspapers who were willing to listen to my story he ordered me not to release the articles i had made up and that if i let this info out i could mess it all up but then informs me that he had nothing even tho i think we have alot i myself have many recordings one in perticular is a boy who was at the house and claims he heard the boy himself say " I just hit Shawn (my Son) in the back of the head with a fire extenquisher" and then he says they (his cousin and the boy) left . i have been lied to by the mcsd on many occasions the first being the first 911 call they claim came in at 7;45 a.m. the next day actually it came in at 12;17a..m. the night before and was made by the other boy the suspect went back and got after my son was murdered but he did not leave his name (i actually believe this other boy helped move my son to the ditch) when confronted with the proof i had the mcsd said they were very sorry but they just had not found him because their spotlight was out on the police car impossible because i have checked on it myself and where my son was nobody could have missed him. The woman who did see and stay with my son that morning says my son had no blood at all on him she actually she at first thought he was asleep the mcsd says she is trying to mislead me which is totally untrue. my son had NO methanphetimes no drugs he did have marijuina but somehow he had a lethal amount of amonia but NO burns anywhere on his body the only damage was to the back of his head which there was multiple head wounds which were so severe he would have not survived or would be on a machine, he had NO roadburn no broken bones no marks anywhere except to the BACK of his head, bruises on his wrist and bruises on the back of his hand and elbow(defence mode) there was NO blood on the scene or on the road where can i go from here they (mcsd) say if i talk i am the one who will ruin the investigation but then they say they have nothing to arrest the boy on please help me do the right thing it has been over 1 year the mcsd never calls me they expect me to just be quiet which i will never let this rest. I saw my son at 9;30p.m he was gone before midnight that night. Both of the other boys are in jail on unrelated drug charges(meth).

I am a bit confused. You say the sheriff's dept. ran the article. Do you mean they have their own newspaper, or is it a local newspaper that quoted the sheriff's department? I would ask the sheriff what are the main things he would not want printed in another article. Are they trying to conceal details while they build the case against one of these boys? It may not seem like they are on your side, but most cops I've dealt with want to do the right thing.

- Bill Jensen, Media

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My daughter was shot and killed on August 10th, 2005. The man who shot her didn't know her or the group she was in. His intention that night was to kill a "nigger". My daughter is white and has many black friends. The boy she was standing by was the intended target. He was black and one of her best friends. I live in West Virginia and our crime rate is very low. The problem I am having is that this is truly a hate crime and the city where this happened wants to keep everything quiet so "no further problems arise". I feel this should be in every newspaper and on every national TV show in America. Do you have any advice for me? Not only do I feel enormous grief, I feel frustration and anger that the whole story is not being told to the public. I understand that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The man confessed to the murder and the only questions he had were "was she black or white" and "how much will bond be, this is the first time I killed anyone." My family wants to go to all the national media with this story but the prosecutor tells us not to so he can get a fair trial. What do I do? Any advice would be appreciated.

I'm sorry for your loss. It is always hard to balance the media with the DA. The question you have to ask yourself is do you want to absolutely make sure this guy gets all that's coming to him, or do you want to gamble a bit and go to the media, get the case out into the open, and worry slightly about the defense attorney saying there's too much media attention and trying to move the venue, etc... Since he's already confessed, I think you won't have too many problems. Go to the media, they should pick it up. But just know it is a small gamble. But if it makes you feel better, you should do it. If he's confessed, this guy isn't going to go free, and if he does, the prosecutor has more to worry about than the media.

- Bill Jensen, Media

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My nephew was killed almost 1 year ago. On September 30, it will be 1 year since his body was found. The police still have not made any arrests, but insist that the case is not cold, and that they still have various leads.
My nephew was only 16 years old, and was last seen alive getting off of his school bus. Because of his age and the circumstances of his death, there was initially lots of media coverage. But now, since the police have no suspects, etc..., his case seems to have been forgotten.
My question to you is, how do I keep his case in the spotlight, so that the detectives working the case, continue to stay motivated and so the people of this community don't forget him or how he died?

I am sorry for your loss. Keeping any case in the spotlight is tough, but there are some strategies.
The first is the anniversary. The media like to do follow-up stories around anniversaries, but they need lead time. I would contact the media outlets now, inform them of the case, and offer an interview in which you might share some new details on the case (but be careful, since you say the police are still working, you don't want to tell them anything that would hurt the investigation.)
Another way to get the media back involved is to organize a community event in your nephew's name, such as a concert or a street fair. Local media would then have to at least say your nephew's name and some of the circumstances surrounding his death if they were covering the event.

- Bill Jensen, Media

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Thank you in advance for taking time to read this email and answering my question. My best friend was raped and murdered on 12/16/08 in San Rafael, CA. No arrests have been made, and DNA results are not even back yet according to SRPD. The murder has only gotten a total of maybe 5 nights coverage on the evening news when it happened and nothing since. San Rafael is a very upscale town in Marin County, which is according to Forbes, the 15th richest county in the country. How can we keep this in the media when we have no new information?

Also, myself, and Ashleys family beleive there is no reason why it should take 11 months to 1 year for police dept to get the dna results back. My father suggested going to the media and have the media ask the police dept why it is taking so long for dna results. Is that a good idea and how should we go about doing that? We are also going to have a vigil in front of the bar she was found behind on the anniversary of her death and we would like to alert the media in hopes of news coverage, would that work? I thank you for any and all advise you can offer.

I am sorry for your loss. The backlog for DNA is incredible and inexcusable in many police departments and labs across the country.

As for drumming up coverage, the anniversary is your best bet right now. Alert the media. The Marin Independent Journal should cover it, and if the reporter is worth their salt, they will ask the questions for you about the dna holdup, suspects, etc...

- Bill Jensen, Media

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My son, was murdered on 3/14/10, in Florida. We live in Pennsylvania. He was murdered on a Sunday morning, but it took the police until Tuesday to inform us. The media in West Palm Beach, posted my son's name in print and on the news before we were notified, consequently, a coworker heard about my son before I did. Other newspapers did not and stated not until next of kin was notified. What are the legal responsibilities of the media in this regard.

I am sorry for your loss. There are no legal responsibilities of the media in regard to posting news. News outlets are always going to publish news once it has been confirmed. It is up to the police to notify next of kin before notifying the media. Unfortunately, police departments don't always have decency in mind.

- Bill Jensen, Media

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My Father-in-Law was murdered on May 21, 2014 in Pasco County, Florida.  Coming up on the year anniversary his three sons and two oldest grandsons are planning to go to Florida (we reside in Ohio) and contacting media to see if we can get some media coverage.  We have a few questions about what we can say and can’t say and I don’t know if this is more for an attorney to answer but if not, any guidance would be appreciated.

1)Within hours of finding my Father-in-Law’s truck (the body was dumped elsewhere), the Sheriff named a “person of interest” and put his picture out with the media.  Ultimately they placed his name/photo on their Facebook & Twitter with the message that they wanted to question him about the murder.  Those posts are still on their social media pages.  Can we refer to this person of interest (being careful not to call him a suspect or say he is wanted as there is no warrant) and show his published photo from the Sheriff’s dept in the interviews?

2)The Sheriff made erroneous statements over and over in the first days following the murder saying my FIL was “friends” with and “business associates” with the person of interest.  They now admit they know that my FIL did not know this person.  Can we correct that during an interview?

3)There is a Crime Stoppers reward being offered in the case.  I am assuming we can publicize that in any interviews, is that correct?

4)Our goal is to get the case out into the open again since the entire family is in Ohio and the murder occurred in Florida.  We want people to know who my FIL was; a retired minister, a former police & fire Chaplain, a Father of 3 boys, Grandfather of 6, and husband of over 50 years to his high school sweetheart.  This case was dubbed the “Coin Collector Murder” in the media and he wasn’t just a coin collector.  We hope that getting the reward info out, putting pressure on the State’s Attorney for increased investigation and putting a face to the murder victim will help.  We would ultimately like to include the person of interest because his girlfriend, daughter and friends are all believed to know what happened and where the person of interest is (he fled the area the day of the murder) according the police.  The goal being to make things uncomfortable for them or perhaps spur any tiny bit of conscience or perhaps greed (for the reward) they may have in them.  We obviously wouldn’t tell the media this is our goal.

I am sorry for your loss. You are doing this at the right time, as the anniversary is coming up and media needs a hook. 

1. For the first question: You can definitely bring up the name for the person of interest. The onus is on the media as to whether they would want to use it, as they are the ones that are more on the hook in terms of libel. Yes, you could be sued as well, but you would want that. It would bring this out into the open, the guy would have to appear in court, etc.... That actually is a best case scenario. So mention his name for sure. For them to name him, and not have talked to him means he is our best bet for finding answers.
2.You can correct this in the interview. It will be "showing up" the police to a certain extent, but you need to get the correct information out there. 
3. Absolutely. 
4. The coin collecting angle is something I can see them running with. It is a hook, and as it doesn't tell the whole story, the hook is often what keeps the story alive.  

- Bill Jensen, Media

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