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Communications & Media
Research Paper
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Effective Journalism: Major Things Journalists Should Do When Interviewing a Victim (Research Paper Sample)


In this paper, I was required to research effective journalism, especially how journalists should interview victims and how journalisim could help a given community.


Effective Journalism
Major Things Journalists Should Do When Interviewing a Victim
After an incidence that draws the media’s attention, journalists rush to interview the victims, which is a prearranged face-to-face meeting (Adams 2). However, the latter may not be ready to talk due to the loss suffered. When approaching such parties, journalists should first introduce themselves and their company. Then they should state what the mission of the interview is. Some victims may not be willing to be interrogated until journalists explain to them what the intention is. Such people require assurance that their story would help in the investigation or policy change. They would be open to giving the account of their story if journalists intend to use the story to help others in the community.
Another major thing journalists should do is to acknowledge the experience that a victim underwent. A journalist needs to be compassionate by showing that he or she understands that the injured party did not deserve the misfortune and acknowledging the latter’s suffering (Höijer 514). This helps to build a connection between the journalist and the victim. For example, one can say, “I am sorry for what you went through.” Such statements make the injured party realize that the journalist cares about him or her, and does not only intend to get the story and leave.
If a victim is overwhelmed and cannot continue with the interrogation, a journalist should ask the former whether there is an alternative spokesperson that can avail himself or herself to continue with the examination. Getting another trusted person to tell the story is important because the spokesperson would give their account minding about the victim’s interests. The spokesperson could be a family, relative, or a pastor, who knows the injured party and the facts of the incidence. The failure to ask the victim to suggest an alternative person for the interrogation may lead a journalist to interview a coworker or a neighbor, who may not understand the incidence appropriately.
How Journalism Can Affect the Community
Journalists are public servants who act as watchdogs (Deuze 447). They actively collect and disseminate information to the people. Consequently, journalism sensitizes people in a country about the occurrence of an incidence. When a crisis occurs in a community, journalists cover such stories, and the information reaches the policymakers. For example, an increase in the number of refugees in an area can lead to a shortage of resources. Journalists need to cover such stories so that policymakers can decide to move some of the refugees or increase the budget of providing resources in an area. Journalism, especially muckraking journalism affects policymaking in a community (Walsh-Childers 822). It is important to support such journalism to enable effective policy development.
Another effect of journalism in a community is ensuring justice. Some victims may not involve the law enforcers after an incidence because of lack of knowledge. Sadly, victims of rape, for example, are young children and poor people. Journalists help such people by covering their stories and involving police officers, who start their investigations (Mawby 125). The investigation leads to the arrest of the oppressors, thereby ensuring that justice is served. Therefore, journalism can affect the community by covering stories that enhance investigations, which lead to justice in the community.

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