Editorial roundup


The Canton Repository, April 18

Within hours Sunday, (April 16,) a video uploaded to Facebook spread like wildfire.

It showed the random, heinous killing of a Cleveland man as he walked home after eating Easter dinner with his family. …

The horrifying event also served as a reminder for traditional media outlets about balancing the need to disseminate information to the public with any harm that information might cause. The Society of Professional Journalists, for example, used the tragedy to point journalists to a section of its Code of Ethics about minimizing harm, which states, in part, that “Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.” It calls for showing “compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage” and advises against “pandering to lurid curiosity, even if others do.”

In today’s world, such guidelines are important not only for media members but for all of us.

If you came across video or screenshots of a situation like Godwin’s killing Sunday on social media, would you hit the “share” button? Would you consider the pain and agony it might cause others, including family members and friends of the victim, who unwittingly could receive the information?

Would you take time to alert law enforcement? Would you be careful to share on social media only information that could be helpful to police in their search for Stephens, like a physical description and photos of the vehicle he was driving? Would you treat reports about Stephens and his possible whereabouts with a degree of skepticism, so as not to harm others unintentionally? …

As users of social media, it’s important to remember there are consequences to our actions online. In other words, think before you share.

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Chillicothe Gazette, April 23

New posters hang on bulletin boards, streetlight poles, and just about everywhere the Rhoden family can put them these days. It’s even been modified into a billboard that peers out over U.S. 23 near Waverly.

That’s the way of life for the family, who lost eight members of their ranks to a mass murder one year ago …

Investigators deserve credit for their constant communication with the remaining family in this case and giving them “monthly” updates. Those left behind deserve regular communication, even to check in and make sure the family is OK in the absence of real information to share.

Will the murders of those who died on April 22, 2016, ever be avenged? Cynics say the investigation has turned up little and will never be solved. The hopeful among us believe something; somewhere will turn the tide and result in arrests.

That’s where you might come in. The only thing that stands in the way of an arrest and possible conviction is the information that ties a suspect, or suspects, to this crime. If you have any information, call the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446) or the Pike County Sheriff’s Office at 740-947-2111.

Beyond doing the right thing, there’s a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and a conviction in the case.

Here’s hoping that we’re talking about arrests and a trial by the time a second year has gone.

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(Ashtabula) Star Beacon, April 23

There is a disturbing trend in schools throughout the Buckeye state: More Ohio students are not getting vaccinated before starting kindergarten. Even worse, the number of unvaccinated students is unknown because documentation is incomplete.

According to a report by the Dayton Daily News, 75 percent of Ohio elementary schools failed to indicate every incoming kindergarten student was vaccinated or exempt from vaccination by the state’s deadline. In addition, in 158 schools, at least 30 percent of students started the 2016-17 school year without documentation of all needed shots.

The anti-vaccination movement has gained steam in recent years for several reasons. One of the biggest is the popularity of a false and discredited study linking vaccines to the development of autism. There is simply no science indicating this to be true. …

But anything that reduces the amount of children getting vaccinated is dangerous to society. Health experts stress vaccinations only work because they help us develop what is known as herd immunity — meaning a significant portion of the population is resistant to a disease. Failure to do that can lead to a recurrence of illnesses thought all but eradicated.

One of the most high profile examples of this has been the rise in measles cases in recent years. Between 2000 and 2007, the Centers for Disease Control reported an average of 63 cases of measles per year. But as fewer and fewer children are getting immunized, the number has jumped to an average of more than 200 per year since 2010. …

… It is important for schools to make sure students understand historical diseases that could potentially make a comeback so when they become parents themselves, they are fully armed with the knowledge needed to make smart decisions for their children. In addition, the state does not have the authority to force schools to report their vaccination records, and legislative attempts to fix the reporting system in 2016 fell short. Ohio lawmakers need to take another crack and make sure health officials and schools know just how great the risk truly is.

As a society, we need to do all we can to strengthen herd immunity and protect our children from a set of serious diseases we once thought finished.

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The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, April 21

Troubling rumors continue to swirl that the Trump administration will shutter the Environmental Protection Agency’s large regional office serving the Great Lakes region …

The good news is that Robert Kaplan, the acting regional director in Region 5’s Chicago headquarters, sent an email to employees saying the closure rumors published in the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers were “not true” and “pure speculation.” The Region 5 office covers Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

What isn’t a rumor, however, is that President Donald Trump wants to slash EPA funding by nearly a third — and those cuts will come from somewhere.

The president already has proposed zeroing out the $300 million annual Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding, slicing $50 million from this year’s restoration budget, and closing the venerable Sea Grant research program that helps guard against threats to Great Lakes drinking water and fisheries. He’s also imposed an indefinite delay on defensive measures to keep voracious Asian carp out of the Great Lakes water system, upending a multimillion-dollar fishery industry.

It also would punish a region of Trump voters. The five Great Lakes states — including Ohio — that delivered their electoral votes to Trump effectively won him the presidency. Is this their reward?

Candidate Trump promised to slash the EPA to “tidbits.” He didn’t mention the consequences. For the Great Lakes region, they could be severe.

… The entire Ohio delegation and all Great Lakes lawmakers from every Great Lakes state must stand together against these shortsighted and ill-considered cuts.