Best practices for investigation, language and terminology in reporting

Media can be a powerful tool for expanding the public's understanding of the dynamics of sexual violence--or for reinforcing incorrect myths. This depends on how a story is investigated, presented, and framed. Is a prevention message included? Are the latest statistics on prevalence given? Are experts and advocates quoted? The resources below will aid in the pursuit of good journalism on this complicated subject.

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Investigation Best Practices

  • Covering Sexual Assault  This one-hour free webinar explains how journalists should best investigate and report sexual assault stories. http://www.newsu.org/courses/covering-sexual-assault
  • Reporter's Toolkit: Investigating Sexual Assault Cases on your Campus   This toolkit from the Center for Public Integrity serves as an introductory guide on how to investigate the ways your school deals with sexual assault allegations. http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/campus_assault/toolkit/
  • Start by Believing  This is a public awareness campaign designed to change the way we respond to rape and sexual assault in our communities. When someone comes to you . . . what will your reaction be? http://www.startbybelieving.org/Default.aspx

Sample Articles

  • Beyond Rape: A Survivor's Story  A bold, groundbreaking, piece of journalism in which Joanna Connors turns her reportorial skills on her own sexual assault. Originally published in The Plain Dealer of Cleveland in May, 2008. Winner of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma Award. http://dartcenter.org/content/beyond-rape
    Tags: Self-Defense 
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