Ethical Reporting of Sensitive Topics  book cover
1st Edition

Ethical Reporting of Sensitive Topics

Edited By

Ann Luce

ISBN 9780815348665
Published March 8, 2019 by Routledge
308 Pages

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Book Description

Ethical Reporting of Sensitive Topics explores the underlying complexities that journalists may face when covering difficult news stories. Reporting on issues such as suicide, sexual abuse, or migration is a skill that is often glossed over in a journalist’s education. By combining theory and practice, this collection will correct this oversight and give journalists the expertise and understanding to report on these subjects responsibly and ethically.

Contributors to this volume are an international group of journalists-turned- academics, who share their first-hand experiences and unique professional insight into best ethical journalistic practice for reporting on sensitive topics. Drawing from a range of case studies, contributors discuss the most appropriate approach to, for example, describing a shooter who has killed a group of schoolchildren or interviewing someone who has lost everything in a natural disaster. Readers are invited to consider factors which have the potential to influence the reporting of these sorts of topics, including bias, sensationalism, conflict of interest, grief, vulnerability, and ignorance of one’s own privilege.

Ethical Reporting of Sensitive Topics aims to support all journalists, from students of journalism and individuals encountering a newsroom for the first time, to those veteran journalists or specialist journalists who seek to better their reporting skills.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Ann Luce

    Section One: Ethics, Responsibility and Self-Care

  3. Journalism Standards on the Job
  4. Chris Frost

  5. Learning to Cope with the Tough Times
  6. Lyn Barnes

    Section Two: Reporting Sensitive Topics

  7. Reporting Child Sexual Abuse
  8. Amanda Gearing

  9. Reporting Suicide
  10. Ann Luce

    Section Three: Reporting Violence

  11. Reporting Mass Shootings
  12. Glynn Greensmith

  13. Reporting Urban Violence and Gangs
  14. Mathew Charles

    Section Four: Reporting Health

  15. Reporting ‘Critical’ Health Journalism
  16. John Lister

  17. Reporting on Drugs, Diets, Devices and Other Health Interventions
  18. Kim Walsh-Childers

    Section Five: Reporting Science and the Environment

  19. Reporting Controversial Science
  20. Shelley Thompson & Hilary Stepien

  21. Reporting Climate Change
  22. Bob Wyss

  23. Reporting Natural Disasters in the Digital Age
  24. Amanda Gearing

    Section Six: Reporting Cultural, Ethnic and Geographical Difference

  25. Reporting on ‘Other’ Cultures
  26. Alex Wake

  27. Reporting on International Migration

Jeremaiah Opiniano

Conclusion: Further Hints and Tips


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Ann Luce is a Principal Academic in Journalism and Communication at Bournemouth University, UK. She worked for nearly ten years in journalism in the United States. She is author of The Bridgend Suicides: Suicide and the Media (2016), and editor of Midwifery, Childbirth and the Media (2017). She currently sits on the World Media Task Force for the Reporting of Suicide.