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Tampa Bay Times drops mugshot galleries

The Times will no longer publish the galleries of people arrested in the Tampa Bay area.

The Tampa Bay Times effective today will no longer publish the mugshot galleries of those arrested around parts of Tampa Bay.

The galleries, which had been accessible on the homepage, included photos of every person arrested in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Manatee counties.

Several news organizations have discontinued such galleries amid criticism that they disproportionately show black and brown faces. The arrest information is publicly available on law enforcement websites.

“The galleries lack context and further negative stereotypes,” said Mark Katches, executive editor of the Times. “We think the data is an important resource that our newsroom will continue to analyze and watch carefully, but the galleries alone serve little journalistic purpose.”

The decision doesn’t diminish the Times’ commitment to covering significant crime news and publishing booking mugs with crime stories of those arrested, Katches said.