There’s new guidance for reporting on “major incidents” like natural disasters and terrorist attacks in the UK.
The guidance came from the Independent Press Standards Organisation, the media regulator.
IPSO noted that “there is a strong public interest in the reporting of major incidents,” but warned journalists to be sensitive when contacting victims or those affected in news coverage. IPSO pointed out that often many news outlets are contacting the same set of people and some may be “overwhelmed” by news attention.
Journalists are advised to review photos and videos carefully before publishing to make sure no excessively graphic images or images that identify people are shared. Further, journalists should make sure information is accurate before publishing and properly correct any errors. IPSO also reminded journalists to ensure families know about any deaths before publishing that information, to be careful in reporting on children, and to distinguish between information that is fact versus claim.
If journalists have to go to a hospital to report, they should make sure they have permission to before going into “a non-public area,” IPSO said. And, IPSO reminded journalists to be wary before reporting on social media posts because sometimes people will create fake accounts or hoax victims.
Finally, IPSO called for journalists to make sure they stay safe and seek help or counseling if needed.