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Sensitivity. Story-specific and multicultural. Story-specific sensitivity. Some stories can require special sensitivity or empathy toward people who have been involved in an emotional situation: - Obituaries - Crime stories - Fires - Accidents . Obituary stories.

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Story-specific and multicultural

story specific sensitivity
Story-specific sensitivity
  • Some stories can require special sensitivity or empathy toward people who have been involved in an emotional situation:- Obituaries- Crime stories- Fires- Accidents
obituary stories
Obituary stories
  • Typically done about people who are well known or died in a manner that attracts attention:- Crash, fire, murder- “How does it feel?” – NO- Can be helpful to ask funeral home or other involved person if you can interview family.
  • In general, media avoids reporting on suicides.
  • Exceptions include if the person is very well known.
  • Another exception: Person commits suicide in a public manner. EX. Jumps off famous building.
crime stories
Crime stories
  • Some crimes can be very personal – make sure you respect and have sympathy toward victims.
  • Victims may not want to be interviewed for a story.
  • General story about a victim of crime – use alias?
crime stories ii
Crime stories II
  • Generally speaking, avoid using the name of the person accused of the crime until the person has been formally charged.
  • Sometimes make an exception to that and say “named in an arrest warrant.” Be careful.
crime stories iii
Crime stories III
  • In general, media organizations avoid naming the alleged victim in a rape case.
  • The person accused of the rape may be named. There is an exception to this that some news organizations make – when naming the accused would identify the rape victim.
fires and accidents
Fires and accidents
  • At the scene – don’t get in the way of rescue personnel.
  • Police/firefighters sometimes go overboard in terms of access. Try to calmly explain you are doing your job, and if that doesn’t work, seek a supervisor.
  • In general – can be in pubic areas (streets, sidewalks) if that area is safe.
your emotions
Your emotions
  • Sometimes dealing with these types of stories can be emotionally draining.
  • Talk to someone if it’s bothering you.
  • If you feel the coverage is too difficult for you to handle, discuss the situation with your boss.
writing the story
Writing the story
  • Be careful in the words you choose, particularly with crime stories. Don’t convict someone before a trial. Not only is that inaccurate, you can invite legal trouble.
  • Avoid libelous statements. Cite thoroughly.
multicultural sensitivity
Multicultural sensitivity
  • Reporters work in the mass media. That is widespread and cuts across cultural, ethnic, religious and financial lines.
  • We encourage a wide variety of views and diverse coverage. Diversity – of ethnicity, religious background, gender, sexual orientation, thought.
language of multiculturalism
Language of multiculturalism
  • AP stylebook for general use.
  • Your specific coverage area or your organization may have a style that deviates from the AP.
  • Ask people how they would like to be identified.
your coverage area
Your coverage area
  • Some specific areas have higher concentrations of populations, and set up coverage guidelines based on that.
  • Dearborn – large population of Arab Americans.
  • Detroit Free Press set up a guide, and posted it online:
learn your audience
Learn your audience
  • Reporters should educate themselves on the culture and makeup of their coverage area.
  • CMU offers a course in Racial Diversity in the Mass Media: JRN 380
gender references
Gender references
  • Way back when: FiremenNow: Firefighters
  • Preference is for gender-neutral terms.
  • An AP style exception: Chairman or chairwoman. Only chairperson, chair orco-chair if that is the formal title for an office.
people with disabilities
People with disabilities
  • General guide: Use the term “person with…” or “individual with …” up front.
  • If you are confused about terminology, ask the person you are interviewing.
  • Also helpful: Advocacy groups. Local groups would be best, but some reference guides can be found online.
for example
For example
  • Individual with a physical disability, instead of: crippled, handicapped; deformed; defective.
  • Accessible parking/accommodations, instead of: handicapped accessible
  • From: