Sensativity training

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Before I write about what I really want to write about, I must say this:

to go up to a campus policeman and say "is anything happening" is really unintelligent. In order to conduct an interview well, you must come with questions already prepared. Campus polcemen are busy and don't have time to have friendly chats.

now to the real stuff:

"in a tragedy, never ask a victim's family, "how do you feel?"-pg 35 SNSG

This is a big no-no. You want these people to talk to you, so you must show the upmost sensativity. How do you think they feel?! They feel like someone punched them in the gut, like they're in some kind of hellish parallel universe. The family will be immediately turned off because they'll think you are ignorant and insensative.

Even worse is the dreaded "I know how you feel". No, you don't! You may have gone through something similar, but every situation is different. The circumstances and feelings between family members are most likely different from yuor situation. You may mean well trying to identify yourself with the victim's family, but they might take it as being selfish or trying to turn the attention on yourself.  Also, never ever ever tell someone who is in the midst of grief to "get over it." My grandfather died on a saturday night. Monday morning, someone who said they were my friend told me to get over it. First of all, this situation was my first experience with death. Second of all, his death had only been two days ago! I don't think I ever spoke to the person again.

Chelsea makes a good point in her blog about tv reporters. Never say any of these three phrases to a victim or the family, especially if broadcast reporting. The facial and verbal expressions alone are often enough. I remember a clip we watched last fall in newswriting of a man grieving over his slain grandson. I don't believe the reporter said very much. He just let the man talk about his grief. A good reporter is one who gets people to open up to them.

During my first Media Lab, the Virginia Tech tragedy occured. One assignment was to create a podcast of students' reactions. A girl who lived in my hall had a cousin who not only attended V Tech, but had been good friends with one of the victims. I asked if i could interview her, and all I did was let her talk about what she was feeling and what her cousin had felt. That was a great interview.

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