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Saddest Ghost Lamp

Monday, February 28, 2005

Local TV Newscast Exhibits Journalistic Restraint, News at 11

Coverage of the apparent murder of Judge Joan Lefkow's husband and mother shows a couple of different ways of skinning the same cat.

The Chicago ABC affiliate's Kevin Roy, leading off the 10 o'clock newscast: "We do know from several sources who the victims are and their relation to the judge, but we are not revealing them yet, as police have not revealed them so far. They are still in the process of notifying family.... Because she is a judge who has had her life threatened, we are not revealing the exact location of her home tonight."

The Chicago Tribune's David Heinzmann, online as of 10 p.m.: "Judge Joan H. Lefkow returned to her house in the 5200 block of North Lakewood Avenue after work and found the bodies of her husband, attorney Michael F. Lefkow and her mother, Donna Humphrey, lying in blood in the house, police said."

Heinzman's a great reporter, and I have no idea whether the usually timid Tribune should have redacted the names and address. But I'm starting to get the picture: Apparent murder victims whose families haven't been notified? Sure, why not? Openly (to people with Internet access) gay daughters of preposterous gay-baiting Senate candidates? Better play it safe.