Reporter Shares Lessons From Visiting Family of Sandy Hook Shooting’s Youngest Victim
One of the things I wanted to know was how Zeveloff prepared for an assignment as potentially laden with emotion as visiting a family while they were sitting shiva — the traditional Jewish period of mourning — for a 6-year-old. Here’s what Zeveloff, a 2011 graduate of the Columbia Journalism School’s political reporting program, told me:
There’s another reporter at The Forward, Paul Berger, who writes a lot about families who have gone through trauma. I called him the night before (the visit with the family), and I was very nervous. He told me ‘they invited you; they want you there.’ He was right. When people invite you into their lives in the darkest moments of their lives, it’s because they have something to tell you. I was so worried about being intrusive that I couldn’t believe or trust it. This experience has taught me to trust my sources when they say they want to talk.
For more on reporting techniques to handle difficult situations — specifically, how to talk to children who are witnesses to traumatic events — catch a replay of EWA’s recent webinar. You can also get the latest on school climate and safety issues with our new News Topics online resource.