This style guide is designed as a quick, authoritative reference for reporters, editors and producers working on tight deadlines. It includes brief evidence-informed guidance on news choices, language usage and ethics in reporting on the impact of trauma on individuals, families and communities; recommendations for appropriate use of relevant psychological and scientific terminology; and special considerations when reporting on consequential trauma-laden issues such as racism and sexual violence.
Resources for Featured Articles, Sexual Violence
Dart Centre Europe has released new guidelines on covering sexual violence in conflict zones, designed for deeper learning, quick reference and easy sharing with colleagues. The guidelines aim to encourage accurate and insightful reporting, while also reducing the risk of further harm to those brave enough to tell their stories. You can access the guidelines here.
This project focuses on 29 Alaskan women and men of different races and socio-economic backgrounds seeking to inspire change in Alaska’s justice system, and to de-stigmatize being a survivor of sexual violence. The judges called “Unheard” “exceptional, original journalism” that “puts the voices of survivors at the forefront” and “reimagines how trauma-aware, culturally-sensitive, collaborative reporting can be done.” They applauded the project’s “emphasis on the heterogeneity of sexual violence and trauma” and called the reporting approach “sensitive by design.” Originally published by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica on June 1, 2020.
A panel discussion at International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies’ annual meeting offered an innovative model for interviewing survivors of sexual assault: keep a therapist in the room.
This multipart series focuses on rape survivor Sandi Fedor’s efforts to track down the serial rapist who attacked her as she discovers that her trust has been betrayed by the indifference of an historically under-resourced Cleveland Police sex crimes unit. Judges praised the team for “successfully intertwining a visceral survivor’s point of view narrative with traditional investigative reporting.” They said the series “meticulously documents with photographs, video clips, audio recordings, public records, police documents, and prior investigative reporting” a “pattern of systemic police department failure dating back decades” which “enabled serial offenders like the man who attacked Sandi Fedor to evade justice for years.” Originally published in the Plain Dealer on September 29, 2019.
These two episodes of the ambitious podcast "Believed" – “The Parents” and “What Have You Done?” – focus on Larry Nassar’s victims and their families, exploring the complicated, conflicted emotions that can persist when people are victimized by a seemingly known and trusted person. Judges recognized the "enormous trust" the reporters built with everyone they interviewed, allowing the survivors and parents to “reveal their deepest regrets and vulnerabilities,” and calling the end result "intimate," "revelatory," and "profound." Originally published by Michigan Radio in January 2018.
This deeply reported multimedia project explores the failure of Minnesota’s policing and courts to serve rape and sexual assault victims. Judges called “Denied Justice” an “exceedingly thorough investigative reporting triumph" that makes an "enormous contribution to public service." They commended the series' "incredible depth" that touched everything from "decisions around anonymity to the scope of interviews, from expert sourcing to the wide range of angles explored." Originally published by the Star Tribune between July and December, 2018.
Sexual harassment is at the top of the news agenda, and every industry - from politics to arts and entertainment to journalism - is being called to account. Like so many of their counterparts in other fields, women journalists contend with unwanted presumptions and the threat of gender-based violence. The Dart Center asked nine leading women in journalism to share their experiences and to reflect on their own best practices.
This intensely personal documentary tells the story of a violent crime committed against reporter Samantha Broun’s mother, its far-reaching impact on her family and decades of reverberations on politics and the criminal justice system. Judges described “A Life Sentence” as a “deeply honest,” “brave” and personal story “elevated to great journalism.” Originally published by Transom.org in March, 2016.
This exhaustive and meticulously reported year-long inquiry into BYU’s practice of investigating students who report sexual assaults for possible violations of the school’s Honor Code led to sweeping policy changes at BYU, and prompted wider soul-searching on rape culture in Utah. Judges called The Salt Lake Tribune’s coverage “a rare combination of journalistic rigor, aggressive reporting and compassion.” Originally published by The Salt Lake Tribune between April - October, 2016.