Grief is difficult enough without it having undergo the additional burden of public scrutiny.

Here are some things to remember when writing or shooting stories about the bereaved. I hope we all remember these five points this week as the nation mourn’s a much-beloved son. 

1. Never ask the bereaved, “How do you feel?” If you’ve been through a loss, you’ll know the answer to that one. If you haven’t, be sensitive and don’t ask. It’s really a no-brainer when you think about it. 

2. Unless you have been granted access, please keep your cameras at a safe and respectful distance while taking footage. Pag umiiyak, awat na. Grief is not for public consumption even if the person was a public official or a celebrity.  

3. Spare the children. I cannot emphasize this enough. Any child below the age of 18 must be shielded from the glare of the cameras or spared from having to answer questions that may be emotionally damaging. Talk to the adults, not the children. Let them be, and allow them to be children.

4. Please give the bereaved their private space. Grief takes so much out of the body — emotionally, physically, psychologically. Wait for a spokesperson. Do not intrude into their sadness.  

5. Be very careful and prudent about the words you use and the visuals you choose. Remember, what you say, write or post is there for all eternity. Do not sow intrigue, cast blame, or be insensitive. Always place yourselves in the shoes of the bereaved. Ask yourself this question — “Kung ako ba nasa kalagayan nya, makakatulong ba ito?”


7 thoughts on “Grief is not for public consumption — Five Things to Remember When Writing and Shooting Stories About the Bereaved

  1. i am a frustrated writer. always have the ideas, but not finding time to write. created a Word press account because I was motivated by your posts. hope to read more from you. 🙂


  2. dear Ms. Kate:

    i shared this particular article to my facebook, twitter, tumblr. in the many times that we watch the news, my husband and I would always shout at the reporter asking “how do you feel about the situation?” when interviewing a member of the grieving family…how do you think she/he feels???gggrrrrr. I am not a masscom or commarts or broadcasting student nor graduate but don’t they teach this guidelines in handling an interview most especially grieving families. thanks to you, we have voiced our opinion thru your article….


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s