Breaking News Stories
Covering Specific Victim Populations
Other Considerations
Special Challenges in Reporting
Special Challenges in Reporting
High Impact Stories
Working With Service Providers
Creating Ethics Policy
Victims Right to Privacy
Self Care for Journalists
Resources and Promising Practices
Glossary and Endnotes

Link to A News Media Guide for Victim Service Providers
Link to Crime Victim Outreach Tip Sheets




About this Guide


Guide Description
A Guide for Journalists Who Report on Crime and Crime Victims can help journalists fulfill their unique role in helping people understand and work to improve the ways in which the United States deals with crime and victimization. This guide is also designed to provide the most current, complete, and specific information and advice on reporting on victims and witnesses, as well as their families and friends. In addition, it is intended to explain the role of victim advocates and service providers and explore ways that journalists can work with them effectively to serve the needs of victims in the context of promoting public safety. This guide was written by Bonnie Bucqueroux with support from Anne Seymour.

Component of a Larger OVC Public Education Project
The A Guide for Journalists Who Report on Crime and Crime Victims was designed and developed as part of a larger National Public Awareness and Education Campaign project conducted by Justice Solutions under a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice. Major products of the multi-year project included; a comprehensive National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Guide,,Mini Kits for Domestic Violence and Homicide commemorative weeks, Check-lists for 12 Professions, and a National Public Service Announcement campaign - The project also sponsored a national summit of victim service professionals with interest and expertise regarding public education and awareness of crime victim-related issues.

One Guide in a Series
This guide (A Guide for Journalists Who Report on Crime and Crime Victims), is one of a series of guides created under the National Public Awareness and Education Campaign project to educate service providers, journalists, allied professionals and crime victims themselves around issues concerning news coverage of crime with a focus on coverage of crime victims.

The second in the series entitled: A News Media Guide for Victim Service Providers is also available online at:

Use of this Guide
This guide is designed and written to be multifunctional. It can be used by journalists and media professionals as a reference to guide them in their interaction with victims. Beyond self-education, this guide can also serve as the basis for the development of customized curriculum for training on organization-wide basis. Such customized curricula can also be used in the context of larger educational venues such as; schools of journalism, training conferences, and other continuing education environments.

Linking to This Web Site
Responsible website owners are welcomed and encouraged to include links to this website and publication on their own website in keeping with the authors and sponsors intent to reach as broad an audience as possible.


Justice Solutions encourages other responsible organizations, agencies and individuals to reproduce and or distribute this Guidebook, and/or link to this publication web site for non-profit purposes. Any reproductions in whole or in part must include the following disclaimer:

[Insert your name, the name of your organization or agency] gratefully acknowledges the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, for allowing us to reproduce, in part or in whole, the publication entitled “A Guide for Journalists Who Report on Crime and Crime Victims”. This Guide Book was originally written and distributed by Justice Solutions, NPO supported by Grant no. 2002-VF-GX-K013 awarded to Justice Solutions by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.  The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Guidebook are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.”

How to Cite this Guide
Based on the Chicago Manual of Style, for most purposes, this Guide should be cited as follows:

Bonnie Bucqueroux and Anne Seymour, A Guide for Journalists Who Report on Crime and Crime Victims, (Washington D.C., Justice Solutions NPO, 2009), http://www.mediacrimevictimguide.html (accessed [DATE]).


Bonnie Bucqueroux

Bonnie Bucqueroux recently retired as coordinator of the Victims and the Media Program at Michigan State University. The program seeks to educate journalists of today and tomorrow about how to interview victims of violence and catastrophe without re-victimizing them. She was previously the executive director of Crime Victims for a Just Society and the Michigan Victim Alliance, as well as associate director of the National Center for Community Policing.

Anne Seymour

Anne Seymour is a Consultant to the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization Justice Solutions. She is also the editor of The Crime Victims Report, a national journal/newsletter for victim service providers and allied professionals. Her expertise is in criminal and juvenile justice, victimology and crime victim services, media and public relations, research and program evaluation.

Seymour has 25 years experience as a national victim advocate. Beginning in 1984, she was the Director of Public Affairs for the National Office of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, where she coordinated the successful national media and public awareness campaign that resulted in the passage of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. In 1985, she co-founded the National Victim Center (now the National Center for Victims of Crime) in Fort Worth, Texas, where she served as Director of Communications and Resource Development until 1993.

Seymour has written extensively about issues relevant to the news media's coverage of crime and victimization. She is the co-author of the OVC publications, A News Media Guide for Victim Service Providers and A Guide for Journalists Who Report on Crime and Crime Victims to be published in 2008. She wrote the Victims' Rights and the Media brochure, the Crime Victims and the Media handbook, and the Media Relations handbook for non-profit victim service organizations, along with the “News Media’s Coverage of Crime” chapters for the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) “National Agenda for Crime Victims” and the National Victim Assistance Academy training text.  

Seymour developed the concept of the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Resource Guide in 1986, and co-authored 20 Guides through 2006.  She coordinated the national media strategy for the release of “Rape in America: A Report to the Nation” in 1992, which today remains the most successful media blitz for a single event in the history of the field of victim assistance.

Seymour was instrumental in developing OVC’s award-winning “News Media Coverage of Crime and Victimization” videotape in 1999. Following the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, she was the principal author of a guide on how to deal with the news media for victims and survivors of this tragedy. From 2001 to the present, she has served as Project Manager for the OVC “National Public Awareness and Education Campaign” project.

Seymour has also lectured on these issues to most major professional journalism associations, including Delta Sigma Chi, American Press Institute, International Association of Newspaper Ombudsmen, and the Associated Press Managing Editors Association.  In addition, she has personally advocated for crime victims in several high profile criminal cases.

Seymour is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Victims’ Constitutional Amendment Network; Secretary/Treasurer of the International Association of Reentry; immediate past-Chair of the American Correctional Association Victims & Restorative Justice Committee; past Chair and current member of the American Probation and Parole Association Victim Issues Committee; Founding and Core Faculty Member of the National Victim Assistance Academy; a senior consultant to the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center; principal consultant to the Center for Sex Offender Management and a member of its National Working Group; training consultant to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; and a  member of the faculty of both the National Judicial College and National College of District Attorneys.

She has received numerous honors for her work with crime victims, including the 2007 “Ed Stout Memorial Award for Outstanding Victim Advocacy” from the U.S. Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus, and the1992 Outstanding Service to Crime Victims Award from President Bush.


The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the following people, without whose generous efforts, this Guide would not have been possible.

Project Staff:

Diane Alexander, Proof Editor—For her tireless, meticulous efforts to polish and perfect the hundreds of pages of this publication and for her follow-up research to fill the holes and tie up the loose strings. Special thanks also for attending to the thousands of details as the publication and project coordinator.

Kerry Naughton, Research Specialist and Proofer—For conducting the initial research that helped form the foundation on which this publication was built and for the many hours spent proof reading the final manuscript.

Cheryl Guidry Tyiska, Proofer

Trudy Gregorie, Senior Project Advisor

David Beatty, Project Director


Office for Victims of Crime Staff:

Maria Acker, Grant Monitor—For her unflagging support, insightful guidance, and valuable oversight throughout the long, and sometimes arduous, drafting, review and development process.

Bill Brantley, Initial Grant Monitor—For his support and guidance of the original concept and blue-print upon which this publication was based.

John Gillis, Director of OVC—For sharing the vision of both the publication and the larger project of which it was a part, and for lending the resources and support that made it all possible.

Carolyn Hightower, Deputy Director—For encouraging the authors to undertake the project and this publication and for championing it throughout her tenure.

Joye Frost, Director, Program Development and Dissemination Division—For her support and help in shepherding the publication and the project through the review and approval process. Also, for serving as the Interim Grant Monitor during the project.


Web Site Development Staff

Cindy Conrads, Web Design and Development—Special thanks for the hundreds of volunteer hours she contributed to the design and develop of the Web site that made publication of this Guide possible.

Jennifer Conrads, Photo Editor and Photographer—For contributing original photographs and for the identification, selection and editing of all photo images throughout the publication.

David Beatty, Web Design and Editing.


Functional Design of the Web site: This web site was designed for the primary purpose of electronically publishing this Guide. Its structure and format were chosen to maximize reader accessibility and ease of use. Its two-fold design also allows readers to use this “e-publication” as a dynamic reference guide through the universally linked navigation that allows access to the entire document regardless of the users chosen entry point. (see, for example,  the “Button Bar” in the left margin of each page). The Guide incorporates numerous internal cross-linked references that permit users to easily locate related information, concepts, and references.

In addition, the Guide can also be read in a traditional page-by-page, cover-to-cover  fashion by beginning on the first page of the “Preface” and then simply clicking the “Next Page” button that appears at the bottom of each page.

Search Functions: The web site includes several tools that allow users to search for key words within the page being viewed, or across the entire web site (see the “Search” button on the button bar at the top of each page).

Hardcopy Reproduction: The publication web site also incorporates two print options that allow users to print a single page or the entire publication (see the “Print” button on the button bar at the top of the page.


Authors: For questions or comments regarding the content of this Guide please contact the authors through their publication e-mail address as follows:

            Bonnie Bucqueroux:

            Anne Seymour:


Project: For questions or comments regarding the project that sponsored the publication of this Guide contact the Project Director,

            David Beatty:

Web site: For question, comments, or technical issues regarding this web site, contact the Designer and Webmaster:



This document was prepared by Justice Solutions under grant number 2002-VF-GX-K013, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.