To the Commercial Appeal I say, "Just because you can doesn't mean you should." While I would agree that it is completely appropriate to do a story about the law, point out that the information is available to the public and even to tell readers how to acquire the list, publishing the list put them outside their journalistic responsibility and borders on an invasion of privacy.
Journalists, in the interest of privacy, routinely withhold the identity of victims of crime. Additionally, there are reams of information that is available publicly that no newspaper would consider publishing. For instance while it may be appropriate to name the person who owns a building where the town's first strip bar just opened, it would be considered irrelevant and irresponsible to publish a list of who owns every property in town.
While the Tennessee state legislature feels that the names of those who hold a concealed firearms permit should be available to anyone who requests the information, a view I disagree with, most people are not sufficiently interested to go to the trouble of researching. By publishing the list, the Commercial Appeal has given those too lazy to do their own thinking or research something to stew upon. I can think of no legitimate reason to publish this list unless they are simply trying to stir the pot.
Last edited by Wenonah; 01-21-2011 at 10:50 PM.