Breaking News Stories
Covering Specific Victim Populations
Other Considerations
Special Challenges in Reporting
Special Challenges in Reporting
High Impact Stories
Working With Service Providers
Creating Ethics Policy
Victims Right to Privacy
Self Care for Journalists
Resources and Promising Practices
Glossary and Endnotes

Link to A News Media Guide for Victim Service Providers
Link to Crime Victim Outreach Tip Sheets


Special Challenges in Reporting

Page Index
a. Victims should expect multimedia coverage
b. There are no more local only stories
c. Print reporters shooting video need training on victim issues
d. Citizen journalists need information on victims issues
e. Online articles and mistakes can live forever
f. News organizations need victim input in decisions on citizen comments

Special Challenges for Act I and Act II Stories
Reported Online

Graphical representation with the word "News" in white on a blue background.

Commercial media in the United States face continuing challenges in maintaining the profit levels that stockholders expect in the face of declining readership and viewership. National and local newspapers, television stations, and magazines are exploring ways to cut costs and extend their reach by migrating onto the World Wide Web. While the final format has yet to emerge, most news sites mix text, audio, video, and slideshows with citizen input and commentary through video and photo contributions and comment sections, forums, and blogs. News organizations may well find that how they treat victims and victim issues in this new environment will have an effect on how people assess their credibility, reliability, and professionalism in this new multimedia, online world.

The changes are coming so quickly that it is difficult to stay abreast of the latest trends and is even harder to assess their full impact on crime reporting and reporting on victims. Among the things we see happening today:

Woman operating handheld personal digital camera (Staged with Professional Model).

Many print and broadcast news organizations are creating similar programs to encourage citizen-generated content (which has the virtue of being free). Of concern, however, is how far untrained citizen journalists may go in trying to cover news involving victims. News organizations should consider posting links to information such as this guide on their Web sites to help citizen journalists understand what crime victims want and need.

3. Speech by Jennifer Carroll (Gannett) at Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts & Sciences, March 16, 2007.

4. Speech by Chet Rhodes (Washington Post) at Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts & Sciences, March 23, 2007.

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