Journalists will share their tips on how to cover domestic violence. Open to media professionals, students, and storytellers.
About this Event
"Violence against women is normalized. And because it's normalized, we don't see it as a crisis." Jodie Roure, activist at Women Count USA.
On Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 6 p.m. EST, nonprofit news organization Retro Report will host a panel with four experts on domestic violence. Melissa Jeltsen, Rossalyn Warren, Ashley Southall, and Andrea González-Ramírez, four journalists whose reporting on the topic is considered a reference for fair coverage, will be joined by Kelli Owens, executive director of New York State's Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. Retro Report producer Scott Michels will moderate the conversation, which will touch on the ways domestic violence is covered by news organizations, and how they can do better.
The goal of this panel is to generate a set of best practices for journalists. Bring your ideas and experiences to share.
Stay-in-place orders, the shutdown of community services and the economic crisis sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic has heightened the danger for women in abusive relationships. The increase in calls to hotlines and cases reported to the authorities has made headlines worldwide. Violence within the home or from an intimate partner is a public health crisis in its own right. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 40 percent of women in the U.S. have experienced at least one form of coercive control by an intimate partner in their lifetime, and 25 percent have suffered severe physical violence.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time when reporters across the country are prompted to report on the latest domestic violence statistics. But without proper context, articles can reinforce stereotypes that are detrimental to understanding a multifaceted issue. Domestic violence can be physical, emotional, financial or psychological. It can affect people of all races, socioeconomic classes and levels of education. Cases are underreported and have a disproportionate effect on communities of color, immigrants and people facing economic instability.
Some topics to be addressed:
How to put statistics into context;
How to interview victims and fact-check their stories without retraumatizing them or putting them at risk;
Words and damaging stereotypes to avoid;
Angles freelancers and beat reporters can explore.
There will be time for a Q&A.
This event is for news media professionals, students and storytellers who want to learn how to report on domestic violence.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
Melissa Jeltsen is a senior reporter at HuffPost, where she covers violence against women and reproductive rights. She is interested in the intersection of abuse and incarceration, among other issues. Her reporting on domestic violence homicides and domestic violence perpetrated by police have earned awards.
Ashley Southall is a law enforcement reporter focused on crime and policing in New York City, and was promoted to police bureau chief in June. Ashley began covering the police for Metro in 2016 and since then, she has done a masterful job on some of the most important law enforcement stories of our time, from the Eric Garner case, to the problem-plagued Special Victims Unit, to recent accusations of police brutality during the Floyd protests.
Rossalyn Warren is the digital outreach director for the Global Investigative Journalism Network. A journalist living in London, she contributes features and investigative reporting to The Guardian, CNN, BBC and other outlets. Previously, she was a senior news reporter for BuzzFeed News, and spent five years reporting across Central America, Europe, and Africa. In the U.K., she helped the feminist organization Level Up produce media guidelines to help journalists report on domestic violence deaths in a dignified way. Warren has been awarded grants and fellowships from the International Women's Media Foundation, National Geographic, the United Nations Foundation, and the European Journalism Centre. In 2017, Forbes named her among “30 Under 30” in media in Europe.
Andrea González-Ramírez is a New York City-based journalist from Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. She is a senior staff writer at GEN, Medium's official magazine about politics, power and culture. González-Ramírez is an author of “AOC: The Fearless Rise and Powerful Resonance of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” While on an Ida B. Wells fellowship at Type Investigations in 2019, she published a story about Puerto Rico's lack of response to a twofold increase in femicides after Hurricane Maria. Her work has appeared in Refinery29, NPR's Latino USA, El Diario Nueva York, Centro Voices and Diálogo.
Kelli Owens is executive director of New York State's Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. She joined the agency in 2019 after serving as the Governor's Director of Women's Affairs since 2017 and, before that, as legislative affairs coordinator at the state Office of Children and Family Services. Before joining the administration, Ms. Owens was the vice president, external affairs for Family Planning Advocates/Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York.
ABOUT THE MODERATOR
Scott Michels is an award-winning journalist and producer for Retro Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization whose mission is to provide critical lessons from history that yield a more complete picture of today’s most important stories. His work has appeared in The New York Times, PBS, The New Yorker and other national news outlets. His latest documentary for Retro Report, published in partnership with The New Yorker, is "The Domestic Violence Case That Turned Outrage Into Action," a look at a precedent-setting domestic violence trial from the 1970s.
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