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Photo by Richel Umel PPI-NUJP Seminar on Journalism and Trauma January 28-29, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Photo by Richel Umel PPI-NUJP Seminar on Journalism and Trauma January 28-29, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Photo by Richel Umel PPI-NUJP Seminar on Journalism and Trauma January 28-29, 2012

2 UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES Trauma survivors are radically disempowered individuals and communities o Our coverage of traumatic events has the potential to do either good or harm for the victims. o Trauma affects how people understand and retell their stories. Journalism as the capillary system for public understanding of traumatic events o The tone of our coverage may affect how the community reacts to the traumatic event. Newsroom culture is the mirror of society

3 When interviewing victims and survivors

4 1. Difficulties? Mistakes? 2. Should journalists convey emotion?

5 ASKING FOR THE INTERVIEW Minimize distractions. Identify yourself as a reporter. Acknowledge the victims experience. Give the victim a reason to speak to you. Tell the person how much time you need. Take no for an answer. Leave a business card. Ask for the names of alternative spokespersons.

6 CONDUCTING THE INTERVIEW Make the person as comfortable as possible. For broadcast reporters: People in trauma often do not want to be touched, especially by strangers. It is better to hand the lavaliere microphone or earpiece to the person. Bright lights can also be intrusive. Ask permission to record the interview. Establish ground rules. Recognize how trauma affects perceptions about time. Start with less difficult questions Avoid leading questions. Avoid questions that imply blame.

7 CONDUCTING THE INTERVIEW Avoid loaded words and phrases. The following can cause problems: o Most favorite interview question: How do you feel? o Closure o Victims versus Survivors. o Alleged o Demonstrate understanding with questions about domestic violence. Dont claim the interview will bring solution. Allow your subject to talk but respect silence. Always fact check.

8 OTHER THINGS TO THINK ABOUT Eliciting emotion on camera. Going live? Ending the interview. Use with care the term Provide contact information for yourself and your editors.

9 When children are involved

10 Always change the name and obscure the face of any child who is a victim or perpetrator, is HIV positive or living with AIDS, or charged or convicted of a crime. Ensure that the child or guardian knows they are talking with a reporter. Explain the purpose of the interview and its intended use.

11 Confirm the accuracy of what the child says with other children and with adults. When in doubt about whether a child is at risk, report on the general situation for children rather than on the individual child. The main criteria for waiving identity protection is when the information serves to better protect the child (missing child recovery) or the public.

12 When writing the story

13 Choose details because they advance the story, not because they are shocking. From an article about rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Zamuda Sikujuwa shuffles to a bench in the sunshine, pushes apart her thighs with a grimace of pain and pumps her fist up and down in a lewd-looking gesture to show how the militiamen shoved an automatic rifle inside her. Often audiences appreciate stories full of details. But in trauma journalism, details can turn against the story – and the people in it.

14 Consult experts but also make sure the victims voices are heard. Very rarely is the choice, Should I use this detail?. The choices are about how to use quotes, information, data and details in the most sensitive and responsible way.

15 Find ways people help and report on them throughout the recovery process. This helps provide hope for the community. Provide forums on what people are thinking, especially words of encouragement. Offer lists for ways people can help and how they have helped.


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