7. Epilogue

It is important to engage with our audience, and to remain open to their complaints.  We should consider a spectrum of editorial approaches and when necessary, editorial responses. Content warnings can be specific while also defending the decision to include the content.  For example: “This article contains content describing the sexual assault of a child as described in court.  We chose to include it because we feel it is in the public’s interest to know the full horror of this crime.”  In addition to detailed content warnings, whenever graphic content is included, we should consider providing context and analysis in our news reports as well, to avoid distortion and sensationalism.  

It is difficult, if not impossible, to avoid upsetting some people in our audience.  That is the nature of news.  But it does not serve the public interest to give the audience unlimited power over journalists.  Journalists must be free to report on the facts, even when those facts are ugly.