The Globe public editor answers a common and important question: Why does the media keep publishing the names of killers and terrorists looking for fame?

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A great question came in from a reader in Kingston who wanted to know: “Why does the media continue to repeatedly print the photo and full name of terrorists? If suicide terrorists are seeking glory, why does the media contribute to his/her infamy? It would seem that doing so may actually encourage a future terrorist seeking such ‘glory’.”

Already, off the top of my head, I can produce the name Michael Zehaf-Bibeau but not his innocent victim.”

When we talked more on email, she said she was not suggesting that limiting the terrorist’s screen time will solve everything and that it is a complex question. She also said there was a lot of coverage at the time of the death of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, but she wondered why that has faded in the current coverage of the video made by Zehaf-Bibeau moments before he launched his attacks last October and released on Friday by the RCMP.

Let’s look at first at the coverage by The Globe and Mail. The coverage was focused on the news event of the day which was the release of the video. There are three frame grab pictures from his cellphone and an article which describes the chilling video and also includes RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson’s view that Zehaf-Bibeau would have been prosecuted as a terrorist had he lived.

The article, quite properly, also includes in the first few paragraphs what happened on that day in October including the killing of Cpl. Cirillo at the War Memorial.

So Corporal Cirillo is not forgotten in this story, but the focus is on the news of the day which is the release of the video.

To continue reading this column, please go to theglobeandmail.com where it was originally published.