Overview: Respect in sensitive circumstances.
NPR journalists show sensitivity when seeking or using interviews of those affected by tragedy or grief. That’s especially true when we’re dealing with children, anyone who is nervous about being interviewed, individuals who have difficulty understanding us because of language differences, and those who might be putting themselves in danger by speaking to us. If interviewing a witness to a crime, we must weigh carefully whether we are exposing the source to physical risk by identifying him or her by name as a potential witness, and whether there is potential for the individual to be accused as a participant.
“Sometimes when you’re talking with people living under coercive or oppressive governments, you know that they’re putting themselves at risk,” says Scott Simon. We consider it our duty to make sure they are aware of the potential ramifications. And even if they are fully informed and willing to go on the record, we may determine it’s still best not to reveal their names on the air or online.
October 19, 2011