Random acts of journalism DO occur, just not so often at the Washington Post.

In ongoing coverage of an incendiary incident at the University of Maryland, the Jeff Bezos-owned publication has left out a crucial detail. After a swastika was found painted on a dorm trash container in late September, it set off a wave of anger and finger-pointing on campus.

When a suspect was arrested a few days ago, some were surprised that the alleged culprit was not a student, but a 52-year-old from Hyattsville, MD.

Though the WaPo reported his name, Ronald Alford Sr., it failed to mention any other details, including his ethnic background.

Alford Sr. is African-American.

It later ran an AP story with more details, but this was still omitted:

WJLA-7, the ABC affiliate for DC, did the same thing in its AP-based coverage.

So how do we know about Alford’s background? It’s because one station, DC’s Fox 5-TV, took the time to investigate the court filings and then get reactions from students:

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Court records show the man accused of spray-painting a swastika inside a residence hall at the University of Maryland in September is African American.

Students were surprised to learn someone who is a member of a race which has been historically oppressed is accused of the hate-related incident.

“I guess it proves that you don’t have to be a certain race to hate people, but I mean, it’s just you would think that someone, especially from a race that has been subjected to hate before, you would think why would you want to reciprocate that to somebody else,” said student Abby Gorun.

University of Maryland police say 52-year-old Ronald Alford Sr. was served a criminal summons on Thursday and faces several charges including destruction of property and disturbing the operations of a school. Alford will not be allowed back on campus.

Actual journalism is rare these days, but at least occasionally practiced.

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