By Michael Perini, ABC
Nearly every day, after a tragic incident that makes news, families are asked by reporters for a media interview. Sometimes it is after they ambush them at their front door, or see them entering their vehicle or have access to their phone number leaving countless messages to grant access.
We believe that families also have rights to be treated with dignity and respect at all times after an incident that propels them into the media eye.
Often, families dealing with grief or shock do not know that they can take a stand. Here is a list to review before deciding to make comment to the press.
- To say “no” to an interview
- To select the spokesperson or advocate
- To select the time and location for media interviews
- To request a specific reporter
- To refuse an interview with a specific reporter even though he or she has granted interviews to other reporters
- To say “no” to an interview even though the family has previously granted interviews
- To release a written statement through a spokesperson in lieu of an interview
- To exclude children OR OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS (relatives) from interviews
- To refrain from answering any questions with which the family is uncomfortable or that the family feels are inappropriate
- To avoid a press conference atmosphere and speak to only one reporter at a time
- To demand a correction when inaccurate information is reported
- To ask that offensive photographs or visuals be omitted from airing or publication
- To conduct a television interview using a silhouette or a newspaper interview without having their picture taken
- To completely give the family’s side of the story related to the issue, topic or activity
- To refrain from answering reporter’s questions during a trial
- To file a formal complaint against a reporter
- To confer with your media representative or official spokesperson in private