Thursday, March 12, 2009

Media Coverage of High Profile Domestic Violence

This was posted by Molly Dragiewicz on a yahoo group I am a member of:
With permission from:
Molly Dragiewicz Ph.D
Assistant Professor
Criminology, Justice and Policy Studies
University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:01 pm (PDT)
"We have all seen a lot of bad coverage lately. My facebook status is "I hate Anderson Cooper Again" after last night's weird little moment. Here are some resources you can send to journalists who don't get it yet. The VAWNET applied research fact sheets are also always good to send, although for those who don't like facts they won't help much. The letter to individual journalists can't start "Oh my god you are horrible and let me tell you why..." so we have to write, "Dear _______, I was so thrilled to see you writing about violence against women because it is so important. I really liked the part where you talked about _________ because ___________. I noticed that you didn't include ____________ _, maybe next time you could do that because ____________ __. And then maybe we wouldn't see so many men punching women in the face and then getting awards from children's organizations. Here are some resources for journalists covering violence against women that might make your job easier next time. Please keep covering this important issue! Love, _________"You can send your other letter to the editor.
Covering Domestic Violence: A Guide for Journalists and Other Media Professionals
Covering Domestic Violence
Best Practices for Covering Trauma
Advice for journalists:
1.Use scholars, advocates with expertise in the area, and survivors as your commentators on a story
2.Provide the hotline number
3.Provide a website where people can go for more information and services
4.Put the responsibility where it belongs, on the batterer
5.Make the connection between this incident and all of the other similar incidents that happen every day
6. Include something about what people can do to help local service providers.
7. Always include at least one source who speaks on behalf of the victim
8. The neighbors are not a legitimate source for your story. Abusers cultivate a positive public image and we should expect them to. Just because you can smile at your neighbor and have never punched them in the face does not mean you are not an abuser."
Don't forget to join the teleconference with Wendy Brown on March 24th
The Chris Brown/Rihanna Case: What we can learn from the media’s coverage of this case to use in our work with teens and their families

A disturbing example I came across today follows. I, for one, have no desire to be lumped into the "advocate" category they refer to here. I believe, while they are attempting to give a good message, the context is not helpful. Chris Brown is setting a bad example. Let's focus on the criminal's behavior. Whatever choices Rihanna makes, Chris Brown will still be a batterer. I will be contacting the source agency of the comments quoted :

The second advocate quoted is from this agency if anyone wishes to write to them:

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