Minimizing harm for families of homicide victims

“More Than A Number” by Justin Baxley is a project aimed at making it easier and more humane for families of homicide victims to engage with local media. Baxley focused on giving the families of crime victims more agency over how quickly and how often a media outlet contacts them (including choosing not to comment at all), ensuring more time to respond to journalists’ questions and having more of a say in how their loved one is portrayed.

One of the pillars of the SPJ Code of Ethics is to minimize harm, “Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect.” Baxley’s project demonstrates compassion for those who may be affected by the news coverage. The project emerged from Baxley’s personal experiences, so he understands the need to balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort, as suggested by the Code.