Draft policy for delisting reports

For further explanation of the following policy click here.

The Southeast Missourian newspaper is considering changing its policy regarding online retention for public search. The draft policy is as follows:

The daily crime report will be “delisted” from search engine accessibility after six years of being online. The report will remain online and searchable on semissourian.com, but, subject to search engine practices, it will not be readily available for easy public consumption through search engines (like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.).

Similarly, the Southeast Missourian will generally remove staff-written crime stories about misdemeanors from search engine accessibility after six years under the following conditions if a formal request is received:

  • The requestor must provide URL links to the story or stories in which he or she is named that requestor seeks “de-listing.” The newspaper will not review stories for de-listing outside of what requestor identifies. The Southeast Missourian may remove stories where felony charges were filed, if the charges were eventually lowered to misdemeanors at the time of sentencing.
  • If the status of the misdemeanor is not mentioned in the story that the requestor wants delisted, the requestor must provide evidence that the crime or crimes was/were a misdemeanor at the time of sentencing. In a case where multiple crimes were accused or committed, all crimes must have been reduced to misdemeanors for the story to be delisted.
  • The Southeast Missourian will not delist a story where felonies were not reduced to misdemeanors. In such a case where the requestor’s sentencing was reduced to a misdemeanor but other suspects or crimes in the story were not, the requestor may ask for an editor’s note at the top of the story that his or her crime was reduced to a misdemeanor. The requestor must provide the evidence of the charge reduction.
  • The requestor must provide a driver’s license identification (or other acceptable form of ID) that he or she is the person mentioned in the story.

The newspaper retains editorial control to make exceptions to this policy regarding whether to de-list a misdemeanor crime. In some cases, because of other factors, de-listing may not be approved. Newspaper policy is to never de-list stories regarding felony convictions.

To summarize: the story will remain on semissourian.com, but the website will turn off access to these stories via search engines. It may take a bit of time for the search engines to execute the switch, maybe even months. But eventually they will discontinue searching the link after the website makes the change.

The newspaper will not discontinue archiving articles and police reports, and they will still be retained in other ways. People may still use newspaper archives to do background checks by contacting the newspaper for research.

Click here for more information about draft policy.