Best Practices in Trauma Reporting

Provide an explanation to readers about why an article or particular series of articles is being run in the newspaper, especially stories that contain considerable violent content. Example: When the Detroit Free Press ran a six-part series of articles about violence and murder in the city, some readers might have assumed it was a marketing ploy to increase sales through sensational journalism. Instead of leaving anything to conjecture, the newspaper explained in an introductory note:

City leaders have tried to stop the violence in Detroit – teaching children tools for conflict resolution, flooding areas with cops, targeting the drug trade, buying back guns and even holding a day of prayer. But the violence continues. Through November, there were 1,279 shootings and 341 murders.

Why is this city killing itself? What has it done to the community’s soul?

That’s what the Free Press wants to show you, in the special series that continues today. Staff writer Jeff Seidel and photographer Eric Seals spent the last six months traveling with homicide detectives to crime scenes, watching them try to solve the crimes. Seidel and Seals also spent time with the families of victims, in the courts and in the neighborhoods where people are getting killed.