Letter: Unhappy with storyI have always regarded the Hudson Star-Observer to be a great newspaper with a reputation of being able to report the news honestly and factually in a professional and respectful style. I was shocked and appalled as I read last week’s story “Tests may tell how Knoll brothers died.”
By: Kelly Theese, Hudson, Hudson Star-Observer
I have always regarded the Hudson Star-Observer to be a great newspaper with a reputation of being able to report the news honestly and factually in a professional and respectful style. I was shocked and appalled as I read last week’s story “Tests may tell how Knoll brothers died.”
I was left wondering why this so-called professional would write such a lengthy story highlighting any negative info he could find on Greg and Jeff Knoll.
Some information was true and some incorrect. I would expect that this newspaper would verify the information before printing it for the world to see. I also do not recall this newspaper ever in the past, upon a tragedy of any nature, to go to great lengths slandering people who have passed away and are not able to defend themselves. I looked hard in this article and was unable to find any statements that outlined any “positive” points of these men’s lives. If I didn’t personally know both individuals, the reporter would have probably been successful painting quite the negative picture for me.
I am experienced in the HIPAA privacy laws regarding the privacy and security of health information. This federal law gives protection against all medical information, and even stricter protection against mental health and chemical dependency treatment records.
Under no conditions should the newspaper received or printed statements made to a mental health professional. And confidentiality is also assured when individuals are participating in treatment. A court of law can legally obtain this information or an individual can authorize to release this information to a court. However, they are not to be re-disclosed without authorization.
The reporter may have been naive to this law, but as a reporter I would hope not. Regardless of whether he was aware or not, I would hope that he could review his story and know that it is unethical, hurtful and unnecessary. I can’t help but think this reporter had an ulterior motive behind his writing that to educate the public on the ongoing investigation and facts of the event.
The people involved in this story are very real people that grew up in this town. They were skilled mechanics who may have fixed your car. You may remember them from a campground where they were spending quality time with their sons or boating on the river. Their children may be friends with your children. They were raised in a close family and were hard workers. Greg and Jeff were both proud parents, and their lives deserve a lot more credit than that story has given.
I also want to point out the additional pain this story has caused for the families. This family has experienced tremendous loss this past few months, pointing out that their mother just passed away in February. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to not only experience the loss of a parent, uncle or brothers and, at the same time, not have any answers as to how they died or why.
For this newspaper, why would you knowingly make the situation harder and more painful to those that are mourning such a tragic loss? I hope your reason for reporting this story was pretty important because it affected a lot of people. Everyone is anxiously awaiting results of this investigation, but until then please show respect for the families and stick to the facts.