Doing It Right
By Lori Robertson
Lori Robertson (firstname.lastname@example.org), a former AJR managing editor, is a senior contributing writer for the magazine.
Don't focus too heavily on the suspect. Don't lose sight of the victims. Show the impact on the entire community.
HERE ARE SOME SUGGESTIONSfrom professionals who have studied violence by children and journalists who have overseen coverage of such events:
Don't censor details from the public. Provide as much ``what'' information as possible.
Don't jump to hasty, facile conclusions about what prompted the tragedy. The answer is often complicated and sometimes unknowable. Explore many possible explanations.
Don't spend too much time reliving the episode.
Put the incident in context. Answer questions such as ``how rampant is such behavior?'' Run stories on efforts to avert violence by children. And don't ignore positive stories about young people.
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