The Press: How Not to Cover A Kidnaping

Covering kidnapings has always posed a special challenge to newsmen. They must weigh their responsibility to inform readers fascinated by the compelling drama of a kidnaping against the risk of further endangering the victim's life through premature exposure of ransom or rescue plans. "There's a problem of balance," says Minneapolis Tribune Managing Editor Wallace Allen, "between a person's life and the public's right to know."

Allen's observation is peculiarly ironic. In the recent spate of kidnapings —Patricia Hearst, Atlanta Constitution Editor Reg Murphy, Mrs. Eunice Kronholm of Minneapolis, eight-year-old John Calzadilla of...

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