The Impact of Grief Journalism on Its Subjects: Lessons From the Pike River Mining Disaster
(2019) Journal of Media Law DOI/10.1080/17577632.2019.1592337
Posted: 10 Apr 2019 Last revised: 12 Apr 2019
Date Written: December 20, 2018
The depiction of grief and intense anxiety is commonplace in modern journalism. Little work has been done, however, to examine the impact of the collection and publication of such material on those who appear in it. This article explores that issue, drawing both on secondary literature and the authors’ original qualitative research into the experiences of family members of 29 men killed in a New Zealand mining tragedy. It concludes that the effects of grief-focused journalism on its subjects can be significant. Five negative impacts are explored: fear and loss of physical security; stress and loss of emotional equilibrium; feelings of violation and exploitation; loss of autonomy and control; and interference with relationships and emotional recovery.
Note: A version of the article (which is not the Version of Record) can be found on the authors' personal webpages on the website of the Victoria University of Wellington Law School.
Keywords: Privacy, grief, trauma, intrusion, dignity, autonomy, control, emotional impact, media ethics, misuse of private information, harassment
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K13, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation