Permission (Not) Granted

As news broke yesterday about the shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT, the media interviewed several children. Questions quickly arose regarding shining a spotlight on such young students immediately after many of them witnessed the horrific events that unfolded only minutes earlier.

Soon I began to notice talking heads like Wolf Blitzer announcing each interview with a disclaimer that they had received permission from the parents. Many of these children were now shown standing alongside their guardians.

While many viewers, including myself, question the morality of interviewing young witnesses after such a traumatic event, some reporters persistently interview the smallest survivors without speaking with their parents first. Adam Gabbatt, a reporter for The Guardian, noted on Twitter this morning that some members of the media are continuing to disregard the privacy of minors:

It is unfortunate that some members of the media will chase a sound-bite at the expense of children. It is critical that we all adhere to our moral compass, especially in a crisis.

Further reading: I’m from Newtown and I have something to say to the world.

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2 thoughts on “Permission (Not) Granted

  1. I was talking to my friend on the phone about this very topic yesterday. He was sickened by it. I am a journalist, and I question how ethical it is to interview them. They raise these type of scenarios in our ethics classes. I thought the major problem with yesterday’s coverage dealt with how much they misreported about who was the killer, and the quickness with which they posted pictures of the wrong guy.

    • Exactly! I was watching CNN for a bit and noticed that much of the “reporting” was actually guessing at what facts the police would announce at the next press conference. It was similar to speaking with someone who completes your sentences in an attempt to show how smart they think they are.

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