Pokin Back: St. Charles Journal Defends Withholding of Drew Family's Name in Megan Meier Suicide Story

Much has been made in recent weeks of the St. Charles Journal’s decision not to name the woman whose fake MySpace profile allegedly led to Megan Meier’s suicide. For those of you in a media vacuum: Thirteen-year-old Megan hanged herself last year shortly after her MySpace boyfriend “Josh” ended their online relationship with the message “Have a shitty life.”

St. Charles Journal

St. Charles Journal scribe Steve Pokin
St. Charles Journal scribe Steve Pokin

St. Charles Journal scribe Steve Pokin
St. Charles Journal staff writer Steve Pokin broke the story last month. Since then, Pokin and the Journal -- a Post-Dispatch sister paper owned by Lee Enterprises -- have been pilloried nonstop over their decision not to name the woman said to have created the fake Josh and his MySpace page. Follow-up articles in blogs and other media have outed Josh’s maker as Lori Drew, a 47-year-old neighbor of the Meiers who opened the MySpace account after her daughter had a falling-out with Megan.

As we reported last week, the Lori Drew angle has taken on a life of its own online, with many bloggers demanding vigilante justice.

Now for the first time, Pokin and the Journal defend their decision to leave Drew’s name out of the original story. In a column published December 1, Pokin takes issue with a reader who claims withholding Drew’s identity serves to hasten the death of journalism.

“In countless classrooms and kitchens the story has opened conversations and provided powerful teaching moments for parents and children,” Pokin writes. “Somehow I don’t see that as our ‘eventual demise,’ at least not in my little corner of the world of journalism.”

-Chad Garrison

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