The closed doors of juvenile court are dangerous. Secret tribunals are, of course, a threat to a self-governing democracy. Everybody knows that. But they also are particularly hazardous to journalists because closed doors reduce reporters to standing with their faces pressed up against them, trying to hear what’s going on inside.
When Minneapolis police told reporters that a 15-year-old had stuffed her newborn in a garbage bag then dumped it outdoors on a 10-degree Minnesota morning, the Star Tribune faced a dilemma. Should it identify the children – mother and infant – in the story?