New guides promote best practices for reporting on difficult subjects

Good reporting on difficult subjects comes with unique sets of challenges—whether covering mental health issues, trauma, or complex social service systems. Fortunately, there are several resources journalists can consult to guide them in their work.

The BC-based collaborative journalism project Spotlight: Child Welfare recently developed a guide for reporters covering the child welfare system. The guide, “Best Practices: child welfare journalism,” is authored by Dylan Cohen—a child welfare organizer and Youth Media Fellow with The Discourse—and several co-contributors.

While the best practices guide recognizes the importance of shedding light on “the often overlooked and out-of-focus child welfare system,” it also identifies common mistakes journalists make when interviewing and representing sources.

The authors’ intention is therefore to “provide a framework for journalists as they interview sources directly impacted by the system — families who’ve had their children removed and youth who’ve spent time in care.”

With permission from the author, the NNC has added a link to Best Practices: child welfare journalism in our Guides and Resources section. The section also includes links to best practices and tips on other complex subjects, including a guidebook produced by the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma on reporting on mental health issues.

Visit our Guides and Resources section to learn more.

For more information on Spotlight: Child Welfare and their projects, visit their website.