“The Golden Standard” is a research project that explores the various ethics violations committed by American journalists when interviewing victims of crime. I decided to look more into this subject after spending a summer working with Dr. Sharrona Pearl on her project about how the media impacts forgiveness for victims of crime. From here, I realized there were countless ethics violations from reporters across the globe, and that there was a significant gap in the literature addressing this.
Through my project, I have learned how there is no standardized global ethics code for journalists in the United States. Moreover, there are also no repercussions for breaking these ethics. Thus, although a journalist can harass and badger a victim of crime, there would be no consequence for the former’s actions. As a result, many interviews with victims of crime are insensitive, harsh, and often traumatizing for someone who has lived through a terrible experience. These ethics violations have occurred globally and by reporters from different news outlets; clearly, this has become a widespread issue.
My research project has contributed to my educational experience because I have gained extensive experience and background on archival work. Currently, I am in the phase of my project where I examine any archival work, such as watching clips of reporters interviewing victims. Additionally, this project has taught me to not be afraid to reinvent the direction a project is going in. For example, I had initially planned on speaking to reporters who were on-site for these catastrophes as early as Spring 2018. However, I soon realized that I needed to push back my timeline for speaking to these journalists, as I needed much more of a background to establish the foundation of my project first.