Resources for Interviewing, Tip Sheets
This collection of tip sheets, written by journalist Susan McKay, is part of a Queen’s University Belfast project exploring the intersection between victims and ‘dealing with the past’ in Northern Ireland, in particular through examining the themes of voice, agency, and blame.
It includes guidelines on 1) interviewing victims and survivors of conflict; 2) representing and engaging with victims and survivors for journalists, editors and educators; 3) speaking to journalists and the media.
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.
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.
The Guide to Interviewing Survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence was created by our colleagues at WITNESS in consultation with Dart Center Research Director, Elana Newman. The guide covers planning, conducting and distributing interviews, keeping in mind the perspectives and needs of the interviewee, interviewer and audiences.
Suggested ways news personnel can minimise further harm when working with victims and survivors.
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.