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Victim Services Division

Media Tips: Tips for Victims Who May Work With the Media

Media Tip Sheet

If a case is going to trial or in the trial phase, please consult with the prosecutor before you decide to speak with the media.

Victims may be contacted by the media requesting interviews and/or a statement or may want to initiate media contact. These tips should be considered when victims or surviving family members are determining the pros and cons of working with the media.

  1. Do I or my family members have to speak with the media?
  2. What do I need to consider when deciding to grant/deny a request from the media?
  3. Can I request conditions to an interview? If so, what conditions should I consider?
  4. What if the media approaches me, but I do not wish to comment?

 

Do I or my family members have to speak with the media?

The choice is completely up to you whether you or your family grants an interview or releases a statement.

 

What do I need to consider when deciding to grant/deny a request from the media?

  • It is important to understand that whether you grant an interview or not, the media may still print or make a comment about you or your case. If you decide to grant an interview, you can request conditions.
  • Consider that everything you say during an interview or in the presence of a journalist is subject to being included in a media report.
  • Agreeing to one interview does not mean you have to agree to follow-up interviews or to interviews with other journalists. You may also end an interview at anytime.
  • You can appoint a spokesperson you trust to speak on your behalf if you do not want direct contact with the media. The role of spokesperson is to represent you and your family in a positive way, seek to protect your privacy and dignity, release written statements at your request and accompany you to interviews if you decide to speak to the media. You may consider leaving a message on your voicemail with the spokesperson’s contact information for all media inquiries.
  • You may choose to release a written statement in lieu of an interview.
  • You may refrain from answering any questions with which you are uncomfortable or that you feel are inappropriate.
  • If a report contains inaccurate information, you can contact the journalist and seek a correction.

 

Can I request conditions to my interview? If so, what conditions should I consider?

  • Yes, you can request that certain conditions be met and if the media is unwilling or unable to agree to your terms, you can withdraw from the interview.
  • You may request that they agree to your conditions in a signed document.
  • You may want to consider including some conditions for your participation such as:
    • Time and location of the interview
    • Advanced information about the angle of the story
    • Advanced list of interview questions
    • Non-disclosure of interview location and protection of your identity
    • No other family members will be interviewed/filmed, including children
    • A specific reporter to conduct the interview
    • Omission of offensive photographs or images from the broadcast or publication
    • Giving an interview with your image blurred or a newspaper interview without having your picture taken

Please remember that your requested conditions are negotiable and the media organization may or may not agree to all of your requested conditions.

 

What if the media approaches me, but I do not wish to comment?

  • Get the name of the journalist and the news agency for which they work. Tell them that you do not wish to speak with them and they should not contact you.
  • If you are being telephoned repeatedly and do not wish to speak to journalists, alter your voice mail message to say that only personal callers should leave a message as you are not speaking to any journalists.
  • If your case involved the death of a loved one, you may request the advocate or funeral director to ask the media to not be present at the funeral or burial. If they are present, you may request the media not use cameras or other filming devices.