CW: Today’s brief discusses reporting on sexual assault
Reporting on the Sexual Assault at USC
We’ve had consistent protests evolve and grow regarding sexual assault and Greek life. I’m continually impressed with the dedication everyone has to report on the events and ensuring that we protect our sources and share new perspectives on the movement happening on campus.
As we continue to report on the protests, I want to encourage people to think about the perspectives that are still out there. These instances of sexual violence affect the whole community in different ways. A great example is when faculty protested outside Bovard last week. What communities are also affected and whose stories are being overlooked? As Pauline shared in a brief a few weeks ago, “LGBTQ people, especially trans people, and women of color are disproportionately affected by sexual violence,” according to knowyourtix.org. As a surge of people feel empowered to speak up about their experience within and outside of Greek life, think critically about what voices we are highlighting and which ones are still out there with a perspective to share.
“LGBTQ people, especially trans people, and women of color are disproportionately affected by sexual violence,”
As always, use your best judgment when reporting. Remember that these stories can be sensitive for people so do not pressure people to share anything they do not want to. It’s also very important to share that you are a reporter and communicate what will be on the record and give them space to go off the record or pause the interview if they do not feel comfortable. These stories are difficult to share with someone who will disperse their voice to a platform like Annenberg Media.
For more information and advice on sexual violence reporting, refer to the following organizations and links:
Equity Boards New Policy
This week Equity Board also published our new policy that allows people to appeal an editorial review of previous coverage that features them in it. It’s something we (Daniel Hahm, Pauline Woodley, Jessica Doherty, and me) have been working on for a while to protect our sources from harm. The policy came to fruition after a survivor of sexual assault contacted us about altering the story to move on from their past. We understand that although it felt right to speak with a reporter in the past, these things can follow people into the future. This policy also comes at a pivotal time when we are regularly covering sexual assault and student advocacy. Recent events also depict the importance of being sensitive and intentional with how we approach these stories.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me or Pauline. We are always here to help.
Stay safe and healthy!