Dart at 2013 PRNDI Conference

“Sometimes I think it’s a real challenge, to look somebody in the eye and realize the terrible trauma that they’re going through,” said Russell Lewis, NPR Southern Bureau Chief and 2010 Ochberg fellow at the annual PRNDI conference this past weekend. “And you want to ask questions, you want to whip out your microphone… but you’ve got to be a person first.”

Lewis was joined by Dart Center Executive Director, Bruce Shapiro, Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Rachel Dissell and WSHU’s Naomi Starobin for a panel on covering tragedy, hosted by the non-profit public service media organization, Ideastream. The discussion focused news decisions, areas for improvement and sustaining newsroom staff in times of crisis.

Each of the four panelists spoke of blurring lines between the personal and professional. Shapiro recounted his experience as a victim of crime; Lewis discussed the difficulties of dealing with a victim's family in the immediacy of grief; Starobin touched on the ethics of interviewing children, and Dissell shared insights from years covering sexual violence.

Click here to watch the event video from the Cleveland radio show The Sound of Ideas, or listen to the event audio below: