Reporting Sexual Assault: A Guide for Journalists

General Material
Published Date

With news media serving as a primary source of information for most adults in the United States, journalists are in a unique position to frame the public discussion on sexual assault. The toolkit, compiled with input from reporters, editors, publishers, and representatives from the Michigan Press Association (MPA), is designed to assist journalists in accurately and fairly covering incidents of sexual assault in their communities. The information was gathered specifically to facilitate access to information for reporters when covering a specific crime or public interest story. This new toolkit was developed as a result of more than a year of collaboration between state agencies, journalists , and professionals in the field of sexual assault through the efforts of the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV) Media Workgroup.

The guide addresses the scope, magnitude, and impact of sexual assault, including prevalence, economic costs, and the estimated rate of underreporting.

The document is arranged in sections, including:\r\n

  • Glossary of terms
  • Sexual Assault Facts, Statistics, and Current Trends
  • Sexual Assault Perpetrators
  • Ethics in News Reporting on Sexual Assault
  • A New Approach to Reporting on Sexual Assault Issues (What is newsworthy)
  • Suggestions for Interviewing a Sexual Assault Survivor
  • National, State (Michigan), and Local resources on Sexual Assault