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April 19, 2005


Jane Shevtsov

Is a good story worth creating a possible conflict in a family?

Doug McGill

It's a valid concern, for sure. And let's say the reporter did decide to delay publishing the story, in hopes of getting the mother's story. There'd be nothing wrong and much good, I think, by the reporting sensitively asking her at some point what her views were -- as long as the reporter was willing to sit down and spend whatever time was necessary to listen to her view and hear her out fully. If it seemed that pushing the matter was going to cause a lot of problems with her, her husband, her family etc., the reporter would just have to drop it. But if she opened up, much good could come of it I think both in the press and within the family too.

Lou Gagliardi


That is the website and blog of my Professor of English and New Media Journalism, and advisor for the Setonian, Seton Hill Unviersity (PA)'s school newspaper.

I thank you for this blog entry, first.

Then, I have a question: The mother is obviously upset. You do not state how soon after the tradegic death I am writing the article. Is it really a good idea to force the mother to relive the memories? I understand the father is putting up an obvious front to keep his son alive, at least in his heart, but is it a good idea to make a woman, who as you described,"She looks terrible, as though she hasn't slept for weeks. Her face is tear-stained, she's nervous and distracted.", to relive those memories? Isn't there a thing like integrity on your part as a reporter to keep her from getting too emotional, or is the story more important?

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