Resources for Tip Sheets, Children & Youth
When conducting an interview with someone who has experienced trauma – especially a child – remember that you have the power, and they have the hurt. How do you give a child a sense of power and control? How do you help them tell their story?
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.
Everyone has a right to dignity. Use creative approaches. Photograph objects. Maintain confidentiality. Work with reporters you trust. Think about how you’d want your own story told. Don’t be afraid of taking a beautiful shot. Remember why you're there.
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.
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.
For journalists returning from Newtown, tips on coping with their experience and the expectations of others to explain it.