Best Practices in Trauma Reporting
This is really a public service for readers who are attracted to a story because they personally have been affected by similar traumatic events mentioned in the article or know someone who has been affected. Three examples below show how Dart Award winners did this.
Example 1: After the Murrah federal building was bombed in Oklahoma City, not only did The Daily Oklahoman doggedly pursue this story from just about every angle imaginable, but it quickly created a sidebar column in the newspaper listing “local social service agencies requesting help in the disaster relief effort” and “local agencies that have set up victims assistance funds and other agencies that have become donation sites.” For people needing help, the community’s newspaper is an essential source of information about community resources. For those feeling somewhat helpless and wanting to help, the community’s newspaper can also be of service there, too, recommending practical and useful ways to give assistance. These printed resources can be saved by readers for future use or for sharing with others who may not have access to the newspaper.
For people needing help, the community’s newspaper is an essential source of information about community resources.
Example 2: At the end of the Anchorage Daily News article about incest survivors, a boxed item appeared titled, “Help is Available from a Variety of Sources,” and listed places to contact to report suspected incest or child sexual abuse or to find support groups and counseling services. A list of resources for further reading was also provided.
Example 3: In the Baltimore Sun’s “The Joseph Palczynski Story” (2001), an informational box titled “Help for abused women” was included with the article. It provided names of places and phone numbers for women seeking information or assistance with domestic violence concerns. Preceding this short list of resources is the following paragraph: “In the United States, domestic violence-related injuries are the single most common cause of women seeking emergency room medical treatment, occurring more frequently than auto accidents or muggings, according to a State of Maryland Stop Violence Against Women Program report published last year.”