Social Issues: Covering Human Rights, Education & Health - English

We designed this manual to help journalists to better cover these kinds of issues, to elevate the beats that revolve around daily life to the same level of the politics, crime or entertainment beats. We have chosen to call these social issues because they deal with the way people in society interact with each other. Besides being neglected at many news organizations around the world, social issues involve special reporting challenges. Many of the issues are controversial or sensitive topics that some people would rather not discuss. They often require interviewing people who—unlike politicians and celebrities—have never been asked to talk to the media. Many of those people, such as victims of human trafficking, refugees or people with AIDS, may feel uncomfortable talking to the media about their lives. Covering these kinds of stories takes special skills and a commitment to very high ethical standards. This manual was born in a series of ICFJ programs teaching journalists how to better cover the issue of human trafficking, a growing problem in regions as diverse as the Balkans, the Caucasus, Southeast Asia—and the United States.