Best Practices in Trauma Reporting

Although readers always have the option of writing a letter to a newspaper’s editorial page to comment about something they’ve read in the paper, a special invitation to respond to an article can be extended to readers in the body of the article itself if it is expected to generate some strong feelings. For example, in “A Stolen Soul,” a boxed item titled “How to Contact Us” was printed next to the article providing a way to immediately contact the newspaper with comments.

This is a good way to get feedback about how readers are responding to the story. Are they upset? Are they sad? Are they inspired? Are they angry? Are they motivated to do something to help? Perhaps a newspaper can publish or respond to the feedback in a future issue. Providing feedback channels, especially for a controversial or disturbing story, can serve as a pressure valve for audience members who need to “vent” about their thoughts and feelings in response to the story.