Sunday, September 08, 2013

Dart Center Tips for Interviewing Victims of Trauma

It's quite a detailed discussion. Whenever I read this, it always raises the same question: Should such empathy and compassion be extended to all interview subjects?


Haley Zaremba said...

This is a really interesting discussion. I think it is extremely important to consider those first three questions about whether it's worth interviewing a trauma victim, and I doubt whether these questions are asked enough by journalists. It would seem that every time there is a tragic incident in the public eye, witnesses, victims, and loved ones are splashed across the news. Sometimes it seems that these people are seen as little more than weepy-eyed dollar signs.

I think that this also relates to the Oprah interview that we discussed in class. Maybe the question is not whether Oprah should have asked the sexual assault question, but whether she should have been doing the interview at all. Granted, she's interviewing the victim's parents as opposed to the victim themselves, but if the victim had been willing to talk, I highly doubt that Oprah would have declined that story.

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Potter Box, don't fail me now. One could do a fine term paper on this topic, not *how* such interviews should be done but *if* such interviews should be done? One invokes the Golden Rule: Is it an act of "love" to cause someone to revisit trauma? Draw in Rawls: Would we want to be interviewed in such a situation? Conventional wisdom is that such interviews can be therapeutic - if done within guidelines that cover everything to how you approach victims to how much pain you draw out to how such pieces are edited and displayed and headlined. The "higher" rationale is that some larger lesson for society can be found in interviewing victims, particularly the notion that the impetus to solving problems is acknowledging the cost of the problem to real people. Tough call. Good example of the "ethics" of at least not doing such stories reflexively.