Hearne: Editor Calls Out Lawrence Journal World for ‘Big Mistake’ in Murder Story

Sarah McLinn

Sarah McLinn

Ever read something so ridiculous you had to rub your eyes, reread it and it still made no sense?

You know, besides here on KC Confidential. We all have, but I have to tell you, I literally could not believe my eyes when I read the following graph in the Lawrence Journal World in a story about murdered 52 year-old CiCi’s Pizza owner Harold Sasko and his alleged murderer and former live in hottie, 19 year-old Sarah McLinn.

Check it:

“McLinn’s sister, Ashley McLinn, 22, of Topeka, has also shared her cellphone number (785-806-****) in hopes that her sister will call her. She said the family feared Sarah did not have her cellphone with her and wouldn’t remember their phone numbers.”

Note that I blanked out the last four digits of the young woman’s cell number.

sarah-mclinn-photos-9For good reason. Because it was an astonishing example of poor judgement and sloppy, bad journalism for the Lawrence newspaper to publish a young woman’s telephone number in a case of this sort. Because at the time, no one knew for sure who killed who or the whereabouts and what had happened to Sarah McLinn.

But don’t take my word for it.

1511244_753102214710115_1850521898_nVeteran retired Kansas City Star reporter and editor James Fitzpatrick‘s take:

“I can’t believe they did that,” Fitzpatrick says. “Somebody could have called her sister and said, ‘I know where your sister is,’ and met her and taken her out and killed her. That was a big mistake. That shows a lack of experience on somebody’s part and their editors. I mean, what did they do, fire all their editors? I would have told her if you want to be contacted about this, just tell them to call the police.”

I realize that there’s a disconnect between the public and the media on some of the rules and ethics in the wide world journalism. But this one looks to me to like a no-brainer.

As in whoever allowed this to be published had no brains. 


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7 Responses to Hearne: Editor Calls Out Lawrence Journal World for ‘Big Mistake’ in Murder Story

  1. hot harley says:

    no doubt hearne…but remember its a small town paper…
    remember hank booth had that radio show on the air where they
    did obituaries (ipm not usre its still on) and gave addresses
    and numbers etc. Its small town attitude…
    you’re right…publishing that number was not right…but let me tell
    you what I’ve learned over the years….sometimes law enforcement
    is in on this type of thing.
    We don’t know who was involved…if law enforcement may have
    hit a dead end and was desperate to get information….lots happens
    behind the scenes in these investigations that the public never
    hears about.
    Nopaper would have printed the number. we all know that.
    But we don’t know the real “whys” or “whats” behind the scene
    that goes on within the media and the investigators.
    However…nice coverage of this story. I accept your tthanksfor
    me suggesting you write this story.
    Keep up the good work…its what we want and your forte.
    again….its good reporting and it reminds of some of the great
    stuff you did in your earlier career.
    keep it up.
    Your friend

    • admin says:

      The thing is, because of its size, the University and proximity to Kansas City the people in Lawrence don’t so much think they’re a small town.

      There’s about 95,000 people here and the city spent a ton of time fussing with the bean counters trying to convince them there are 100,000.

      Prairie Village only has 22,000, Leawood 32,000, Merriam 11,000, Lenexa 49,000.

      What makes a town small is the thinking and this and the way the Journal World practices journalism are a classic examples of that.

  2. chuck says:

    That is pretty stupid. Justin Bieber isn’t that dumb, or is he?!!???


    God I LMAO when I saw that. I thought dude was gonna have a heart attack.

    • Pootie Tang says:

      Chuck you saw that on TKC and you run over to KCC with it. What’s up with that dude ? Pootie Tang is going to dog you out….

      • chuck says:

        I thought it was hilarious, I was the one who posted it for some laughs. Look at the time.

        I don’t want Pootie pizzed off at me.

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