About Voices of the faceless: Personalising stories of human tragedy

Silhouettes by Kristaps Bergfelds

'Silhouettes' by Kristaps Bergfelds

Research Seminar

  • Friday 24 April
  • Room 601, Michie Building (#9)
  • 3pm - 4pm

Journalism often involves telling the stories of people who have been traumatised, or have experienced suffering and exploitation. However, often expressing the stories of these people is ethically challenging. Identification has the potential to re-traumatise and further exploit the news talent. In an industry where visuals are increasingly important, this poses a tremendous dilemma for ethically-minded journalists.

This paper investigates the coverage of refugees, asylum seekers, the victims of human trafficking and other vulnerable people and explores how their voices are covered within the media. It will be argued that traditional models of journalism that have relied on identifying victims or using screens to hide identity are not necessarily the best ways to tell these complex stories. This paper applies a human rights journalism approach to present creative and innovative methods of advancing this aspect of journalism. The paper will draw on examples from alternative media in Brisbane, Southeast Asia and Great Britain to propose a best practice approach for reporting these kinds stories and to ensure the human rights, dignity and integrity of the news talent remain in tact.

Dr Scott Downman is a lecturer in journalism at the University of Queensland.


Room 601, Level 6, Michie Building