Best Practices in Trauma Reporting

This “best practices” approach to learning about trauma reporting relied on news stories that have been evaluated by diverse teams of judges to be models of excellence. The stories are not necessarily perfect examples, but they stood out among their peers for a wide variety of objective and subjective reasons. An example of an objective reason might be that they met a particular criterion that judges felt was important, such as focusing on the victim or survivor, not the perpetrator. An example of a subjective reason might be that the story affected the judge at an emotional level, making an impact that left a meaningful and lingering impression of some kind.

A best practices guide can point you in the right direction by providing examples, ideas, issues, suggestions, recommendations, guidelines and so forth related to trauma reporting. The goal is to share strategies, activities and approaches that have worked for others in the hope that they may also work for you or inspire your own strategies, activities and approaches. Paying close attention to the elements of trauma reporting as discussed in this guide will help prepare you for writing excellent stories in every sense of the word.
Some of the elements discussed in this guide are listed below:

· Teamwork
· Focus
· Length
· Propinquity & Acts
· Narrative Styles
· Social Data
· Sourcing
· Intnl. Perspectives
· Time & Energy
· Interpretation
· Resources & Notes
· Cautionary Notes
· Feedback
· Policy Issues
· Follow-Up
· Layout & Visuals

Also important are the concepts of:

· Self-care
· Preparation
· Training

This guide lays the foundation, providing the beginnings to developing competencies in trauma reporting. The rest is has to do with experience, lifelong learning, writing ability, journalistic instincts, sensitivity and understanding of complex situations and, when needed, helpful editorial or peer support and guidance.

Now that you have a taste of the Dart Award-winning articles, go the Dart Center Web site to take in the full meal. Full-length winning articles can be found at Continue to learn by observing and thinking about the ways that other journalists have written about trauma. What resonates with you about these stories? What ideas can you take away that you can apply to your own trauma reporting in the future?

Trauma reporting is a noble calling, but it can also be emotionally and physically demanding. Remember to take care of yourself and your colleagues. The section called Self-Care at the end of this guide can help.