UNITED STATES—We’ve all heard the phrase any publicity is better than no publicity right? Of course, but for some people having your name out there in the masses isn’t always a good thing. Why? Some of the things from your past can haunt you for days, weeks, months or years to come. When you write for a newspaper you discover some wonderful things.

People commit crimes all the time, yet many fail to realize that the crime they just committed is a mark on their record that can follow them for the rest, and I mean the rest of their lives. I recall quite vividly many, many, many years ago, when I wrote a news piece about an incident that occurred on the UCLA campus. I mean I put a lot of effort into this piece, with research, fact-finding, contacting sources and much more.

The piece was published and drew a lot of traffic to the site. Fast-forward to about a year later, and the newspaper where I was interning starting receiving calls from an individual who was questioning a story we did. Little did we know the person calling was listed as one of the suspects in the news brief I wrote! He wanted the company to remove the article as it was tarnishing his reputation. First, my editor contacts me to confirm the facts of my story. I always keep my notebook with every source, story and details of anyone I spoke to handy. Guess what, I had hard-cold facts to back up everything that was written in the piece.

This guy, while he did not 100 percent commit the crime, he played the role of the accomplice, and in the criminal justice arena, that is just as guilty as if you had committed the crime itself. This really annoys me about people; don’t sit there and whine and throw a pity party, when you’ve committed a crime and it becomes something in the public sphere. Do not commit the crime if you don’t want to have your name tarnished!

Am I being a bit harsh yes? My goal is NOT to tarnish someone’s record or image, but at the same time, the news has to be reported, and if the news falls within a specific coverage zone the a reporter or journalist (yeah, the terminology changes depending on who you speak to), is likely to cover it. Yes, everyone makes mistakes, but some mistakes can be prevented people.

I mean c’mon, we all know credit card fraud is a major crime, if you’re aware of that why in the world would you steal someone’s credit card, amount a ton of debt, and then expect someone to give you a slap on the wrist, because a news story about your crime is hindering you from moving forward with your life.

DO NOT DO IT THEN! Were you thinking about screwing over someone’s credit when you illegally used their card, what about their credit score, and what about their finances? Probably not, so you can’t expect someone to feel sorry for you for having to pay for a crime that you did not have to commit to begin with. The news is the news people, it’s not apologetic! Does it get things wrong at times? Yes, but a strong journalist ensures that never transpires. You never put out a story, unless you know 100 percent that it’s accurate to begin with. And if it’s 100 percent accurate, you have completed your job. It’s out of your hands once you upload or publish the piece.

If you don’t want bad press to follow you around the rest of your life, make it your life goal to stay away from being tempted or doing things that will get you in major trouble. Remember once you have a criminal record it’s very hard to get rid of it. The same applies in the news arena. Once you’re online, it’s almost impossible to no longer be relevant.