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The Salt Lake Tribune will consider requests to remove booking photos or other changes to past coverage

Under a new fresh start effort, photos and names may be deleted from past stories about minor crimes.

(Rick Bowmer | AP) Copies of The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper are shown on April 20, 2016, in Salt Lake City.

Starting today, The Salt Lake Tribune will consider requests from people who want their names or images removed from past coverage.

We recognize the lasting impact The Tribune’s reporting can have, especially for those accused of minor, nonviolent crimes.

A team of Tribune reporters and an editor worked for two months to develop The Tribune’s new guidance and procedure for takedown decisions. Booking photos may be removed from stories, for example, or an update about the outcome of a case may be added. Removal of stories will be rare.

Across the country, other newsrooms are crafting or have already implemented similar approaches as they too reckon with the potential long-term consequences of reporting, especially for people of color.

Recently, The Boston Globe announced its “Fresh Start” initiative, and Cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer has had its “Right to be forgotten” policy in place since 2018.

A small newsroom committee will research requests and meet monthly to make recommendations. Final decisions will be made by Executive Editor Lauren Gustus.

“We don’t want to be an obstacle to the future success of individuals accused of minor crimes,” Gustus said. “And we ask for your understanding and patience as we consider each request respectfully and with integrity.”

The request form is available at sltrib.com/redactionrequest.

Here is the new guidance.

The Salt Lake Tribune’s redaction guidance

At The Salt Lake Tribune, we understand our reporting can have a lasting impact, both to the good and bad.

When The Tribune identifies a person accused of a crime, that information remains online and discoverable forever.

At present, The Tribune does not cover a significant majority of minor crimes. We do not publish booking photos of those accused of a minor crime. We do not name the accused in most major cases until an individual is charged.

Effective today, The Tribune will review and consider requests to remove booking photos or names that appeared in our reporting previously. We may instead agree to update the outcome of a case. In rare cases, we may agree to make it less accessible to search engines.

Minor crimes involving private individuals have a lower bar to clear than candidates for office, elected officials or those who hold positions of public trust, such as a law enforcement officer or teacher. We do not have a precise formula for amending a story. We will respectfully consider each request.

Just as people deserve a fresh start, we too must evaluate and redefine our role and the impact we have in communities we serve.

We ask all applicants to apply for themselves. This gives those without the means for legal representation the same access to this process as others.

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