Get consent. Be transparent. Rethink your definition of “family.” Be flexible. Give children agency. Be precise and avoid cliché’s. Ask sensitive questions. Beware of simplistic binaries. Find the paper trail.
Resources for Interviewing, Children & Youth
Be human first. Do as much pre-reporting as possible. Find out what questions the child has been asking. When possible, immerse. Make them comfortable. Leave them in a good place. Verify what they’ve told you. And don’t underestimate them.
Video coverage of the 2018 Dart Awards celebration and winners' roundtable, featuring Neil Barsky, John Woodrow Cox, Azmat Khan, and Lizzie Presser; plus a special World Press Freedom commemoration featuring Columbia Journalism School graduate students Ali Anisi Tehrani and Davi Merchan.
Full video from "Interviewing Children: Multi-disciplinary Approaches; Diverse Contexts"; June 30, 2018.
The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies has released a special issue on refugee children and their families, featuring articles and resources available at no cost through the end of September.
At Columbia Journalism School, Katherine Boo - winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and a MacArthur “genius” grant - joined Dean Steve Coll for a discussion of her first book, a powerful and complex work of immersion reporting.
At this year's PRNDI conference, the Dart Center's Bruce Shapiro was joined by 2010 Ochberg Fellow Russel Lewis, Rachel Dissell and Naomi Starobin on a panel and live radio show about covering crisis and tragedy.
The daylong symposium: Sandy Hook and Beyond: Breaking News, Trauma and Aftermath took place on Monday at Columbia University. Regional and national journalists were joined by community leaders, mental health experts, policy advocates and Sandy Hook families and shared perspectives, discussed lessons learned and pointed the way towards responsible news coverage going forward.
Get permission before interviewing or photographing a child. Set clear ground rules about what is on and off the record. Don't talk down to a child. And don't make promises you can't keep. A Spanish-language version of this tip sheet is available here.
A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on how to interact with children and young adults in the aftermath of disasters and other traumatic experiences.