Monday, October 31, 2011

Tragedy and Journalists

Journalists who cover trauma and violence have to tread carefully for the sake of those directly involved for their own physical and emotional health.

The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma offers journalists thoughtful help for covering a variety of difficult subjects, including suicide, violence and children, domestic violence, interviewing victims and sexual violence. It offers self-help advice for journalists who sometimes struggle to cope with the violence they see.

"Tragedies and Journalists," a booklet available online and in pdf format, offers good advice on many of these issues.

(Photo of Holly Pickett, a UM alum who covered the revolution in Libya. Photo by Remi Ochlik/IP3 Press.)

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Friday, May 06, 2011

Resources for Covering Elections

We didn't get to cover an election this spring, but elections are very much a part of most public affairs beats. Federal, state and local elections demand good, thoughtful coverage, so here are some links that may help you understand the process and the expectations for coverage:

Covering Elections: The Basics

Questions for Better Election Coverage

How to “Truth Check” a Campaign Ad

Fact-checking Election Claims

Thursday, April 14, 2011

See How the Pros Write Supreme Court Stories

Those of you planning to cover Friday's Supreme Court hearing might want to read a few sample stories I've found. Every case is different, but you might get some idea by looking these over.

Court hears mother's appeal in baby's slaying

Court hears arguments over the effect of wells on lakes

NH Supreme Court hears case on cigarette making

Vermont's high court hears case on public access to records

Monday, April 11, 2011

This Week on the Justice Beat

Your assignment is to do one more story from the courts. I'd suggest you try a civil case, and there's a great opportunity coming Friday morning.

The Montana Supreme Court is coming to UM's School of Law to hear arguments in two cases, either one of which you easily cover for a midnight deadline, provided you do some digging in advance. Here's an outline of the two cases. Here's a link to the Montana SUPCO's website, where you can research the actual filings in the cases.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Civil Suits Make for Great Stories

Honest. I swear. They tell you who's doing shoddy work, who's not keeping promises, in short, how people in your community treat one another. Lawsuits are also how we challenge laws and ordinances and hold governments accountable.

But be careful. Until a judge or jury decides the issue, lawsuits are just one-sided allegations, so be fair. Talk to both sides. Dig into the claims.

Here's a sample civil suit. Like most, it spells out what the person suing (the PLAINTIFF) is upset about and what he or she or it (a person, a business or a government) wants the defendant to do about.

Here are two versions of stories written about a sample suit. Look at how careful the writers were to include the other side and to attribute the information.