Reporting cases of vandalism in the newspaper presents a dilemma for most newsrooms. Journalists don't want to inadvertently give vandals gratification or recognition with a news story. Publishing a photograph is an even tougher decision because, depending on the type of vandalism, a news agency may be giving the vandals exactly what they want -- visual attention and proof that they were successful in upsetting the community's applecart.
There is also the uncomfortable feeling that a news report could give other would-be vandals ideas or produce copycat crimes.
At the Roundup, we have always tried to be careful in deciding how and when to report vandalism. Most incidents get little or no coverage and rightly so.
Today, we chose to publish a story about the vandalism that occurred over the weekend at our beautiful new Payson Public Library. During this act of vandalism, a stone memorial bench in front of the library was destroyed. This symbol of love was purchased with money donated by local families in memory of a little girl who died of cancer. It saddens us to think that anyone could be so cold and insensitive as to destroy a little girl's memorial clearly marked with a bronze plaque.
Our hope is that the news report may help gather important information and bring the responsible party to some appropriate accountability.
We also hope that parents and young people will take this opportunity to talk about what it means to respect one another and to respect our community.