"When A Child Dies" Offers Guidance To Journalists

COLLEGE PARK, MD (May 6, 2013) – When a child dies how should it be reported? Whether it's by abuse or neglect, preventable accidents, gun violence and drugs or alcohol, insensitive coverage starts a drumbeat that can lead to sensationalism or reactionary media coverage that never seems to end.

"Covering child deaths is perhaps the most emotionally challenging story a journalist will tell in their careers," says Julie Drizin, the director for the Journalism Center on Children and Families at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

It's clear, she says, that there's a need to help reporters do a better job of reporting the tragedy of a child’s death that is “ethical, balanced, compassionate and caring.” 

That need has led to a new tool for journalists, a free in-depth interactive training module called "When a Child Dies" that was created with funding provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The project's goal is to help reporters learn best practices for covering tragedies involving children.

The new module is now available on the JCCF Web site.