Reporting on victims : journalism praxis according to Flemish journalists
Faculty of Social Sciences. Political Sciences
Tijdschrift voor communicatiewetenschap. - Houten
, p. 251-+
University of Antwerp
Newspaper reporting of a tragic bus crash in Switzerland (Sierre, 2012) in which 22 Belgian and Dutch primary school children and 6 adults were killed, severely shook society. The printing of the children's pictures on the front pages of popular newspapers (i.e. photos plucked from Facebook and the internet without the parents' permission) resulted in the adaptation and extension of the deontological code for Flemish journalists (April 2012). We conducted 30 in-depth interviews with journalists (print and audiovisual reporters) during the winter of 2012 and asked them in what way the adapted code has had an impact on the reporting on victims in the journalistic praxis. A semi-structured interview guide was used, the interviews were recorded, fully transcribed and analyzed. Our results show that permanent attention towards the very practical and daily use of the code is essential as most journalists use it rarely and mostly only after reporting has gone wrong.