Doing It Right  | American Journalism Review
From AJR,   September 1998

Doing It Right   

By Lori Robertson
Lori Robertson (, a former AJR managing editor, is a senior contributing writer for the magazine.      

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 focus too heavily on the suspect. Don't lose sight of the victims. Show the impact on the entire community.

  • 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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