Section 1: Victim Media Advocacy
Crime Victims and Public Awareness
Impact on Your Organization
Educating the Media
Impact of Coverage Can Affect Victims
Types of News Stories
Major Concerns of Coverage
Impact On Victims of Specific Crimes
Cultural Competency
Victim Privacy v. Media
The Role of Victim Service Providers
Victim Referrals to the Media
Tips for Crime Victims and Survivors

Link to A Guide for Journalists Who Report on Crime and Crime Victims
Link to Crime Victim Outreach Tip Sheets
Victim Media Advocacy:
How to Facilitate Sensitive and Respectful Treatment of Crime Victims

Victim Referrals to Media

Identifying Victims Who Can Speak to the Media

Victim service providers and service providers are often asked to “find victims” for reporters. This is both an opportunity and a potential danger. On the one hand, you want the reporter to include victims who can help people understand the trauma that crime victims endure. You also want to ensure that the victim isn’t harmed, but even the requests can seem dehumanizing: “We need a rape victim.” “We want to talk with the family member of a homicide victim, preferably someone under 30.” “We need a stalking victim for a live newscast in three hours.”

Close of  reporters interviewing a man in a suit.Also of concern is that reporters often want “fresh” victims who haven’t told their stories before, and they often want them on short notice. However, some victims find that telling their stories is therapeutic. Identifying appropriate victims and preparing them for an interview may also be preferable to having reporters pursue victims who may not want to speak or who may not understand the risks and benefits. Recruiting appropriate victim spokespersons can be part of building a good relationship with the media.

The challenge is to find victims who can be articulate about their experiences without suffering undue damage. The Victims and the Media Program at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism adheres to guidelines to recruit victim volunteers to speak about their experiences in the classroom. The goal is to find victims who can handle an occasional insensitive question, recognizing that students can make mistakes. Among the issues:


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