The Journalist as a Witness to Suffering

Read case study The Journalist as a Witness to Suffering Nazario made the following comments regarding researching and writing the series. Think about her quotes in the context of the question prompts below as you construct your response. How do journalists reconcile their professional role of detached observer with the more fundamental instinct to intervene on behalf of mistreated children? The role of a reporter as a detached observer was drummed into her early on at The Wall Street Journal where she started her career, Nazario said, and she tries to adhere to that principle as much as possible. Nazario compares what she faced while reporting the story to what many police officers and social workers face. “To some degree you have to buffer yourself from those emotions or you just couldn’t function day to day doing these kinds of stories,” she said. “But I think you have to constantly remind yourself how much you should buffer yourself from those emotions and if you’re pulling away too much. It’s a real balancing act.” “Getting involved makes you a partisan participant,” Nazario said. “You can warp or change the story if you get involved. I would say that despite the attacks, I would still stick to certain yardsticks in terms of trying to abide by the terms of this kind of fly-on-the-wall reporting.” “If I would have turned in every kid who experienced some of the things I was looking at, it would have been very difficult to do the story,” she said. “In my mind I had the choice of doing the story or not doing the story.” Respond to the following prompts in your post: What do you think of the way the Nazario & Williams handled this situation? What did they do well and what did they do wrong? As a reporter, what would you have done? Drawing from the reading and your own understanding of the dilemma, what might the newspaper have done differently that would have deflected some of the criticism.




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