Tampa Bay Times will stop publishing mug shot galleries

Tampa Bay Times will stop publishing mug shot galleries
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The Tampa Bay Times announced Monday it will no longer publish mug shot galleries of arrests made in the newspaper's circulation area, with the executive editor saying the photo collections "serve little journalistic purpose."

“The galleries lack context and further negative stereotypes,” said Tampa Bay Times Executive Editor Mark Katches. “We think the data is an important resource that our newsroom will continue to analyze and watch carefully, but the galleries alone serve little journalistic purpose.” 

Katches said the paper, which is owned by the Poynter Institute, will still publish individual mug shots with stories when arrests have been made.

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The move comes as other state newspapers like the Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun-Sentinel have decided to stop publishing the galleries, which disproportionately feature minorities. The newspaper chain Gannett has also decided to discontinue the photos.

Similar steps have been taken in the TV world.

Paramount TV recently canceled the long-running reality TV show "Cops," and A&E later canceled "Live PD."

The media changes are largely in response to the nationwide protests sparked by the May 25 killing of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police, when an officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.

The four officers on the scene were later fired, and all face criminal charges.