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Guide for Journalists Who Report on Crime and Crime Victims

NCJ Number
Bonnie Bucqueroux; Anne Seymour
Date Published
September 2009
66 pages
This guide focuses on news media coverage of crime victims and provides information for the development of customized curriculum for training on an organization-wide basis.
This guide is one of a series of guides created under the National Public Awareness and Education Campaign project to educate service providers, journalists, allied professionals and crime victims themselves around issues concerning news coverage of crime with a focus on coverage of crime victims. This guide can help journalists fulfill their unique role in helping people understand and work to improve the ways in which the United States deals with crime and victimization. This guide is also designed to provide the most current, complete, and specific information and advice on reporting on victims and witnesses, as well as their families and friends. In addition, it is intended to explain the role of victim advocates and service providers and explore ways that journalists can work with them effectively to serve the needs of victims in the context of promoting public safety. Two sections are featured: Section 1 addresses how victim advocates can facilitate sensitive and respectful treatment of crime victims by the news media, effectively advocate for victims in the media, and serve as their liaisons to media professionals; Section 2 is designed to help victim assistance organizations build positive relations with the news media. Topics include: breaking news stories, interviewing, covering specific victim populations, guidelines for feature stories, identifying subject matter experts, special challenges in reporting, working with service providers, high impact stories, creating ethics policies, victims' right to privacy, self-care for journalists, and resources and promising practices. Endnotes