This outlines media guidance, goals and key messages, and the support available when you’re deciding whether or not to talk to the press. It also explains the pros and cons it is important for you to consider before talking to journalists.
Purpose of working with the media
To address stigma – TFMR baby loss can happen to anyone
To tell people what TFMR is (and what it’s not)
To explain what help is available
To talk about the complexities and nuances of TFMR and educate outside of the TFMR community as to all of the reasons that parents can suffer TFMR baby loss.
To raise awareness that TFMR is baby loss and the emotional impact of this type of baby loss.
To break down myths and stigma around TFMR baby loss.
To support reproductive rights
What to consider before participating with the media
· Are you in good mental and emotional health?
· Have you had time to think about their own story with suitable support to help you process your loss?
· Have you considered the pros and cons of going public? TFMR can sadly be a highly politicised issue as the medical care received during TFMR Is legally and medically classed as a termination/abortion procedure. This could lead you into spaces with the media that may well be bias or charged with political debate where the core message of those that have suffered TFMR baby loss is the grief of losing your baby may not be conveyed in the way that you ultimately want it to be.
· Have you enough support and information?
· Are you well briefed about the key messages that the media you are working with are looking to focus on? (A full list of questions to ask the media to help you with this are listed further on in this document).
Types of News Outlets
Print /Broadcast Media: Be cautious when it comes to setting up interviews with tabloid newspapers. We would not recommend accepting requests from weekly magazines / TV productions containing stories designed to shock/cause division. News agencies should be viewed with extreme caution, given the lack of control over where the piece is accepted.
The Pros & Cons of sharing your story
Engaging with the media can be a really positive way of sharing your story to make a difference to others. However, it is really important to consider both the benefits and potential risks of ‘going public’. This guidance is here as a guide and is by no means definitive or something we can fully endorse as completely safe; it is always up to you to decide which opportunities you would like to take part in – please don’t feel compelled in any way to take part in something because you feel you have to be a voice for the community. You will always have the right to say ‘no’ and you can pull out of any opportunity if you are not happy after meeting or talking to the journalist, even if you have initially agreed. To help you understand the point at which you can no longer pull out, it is typically as follows: for print media this is often after you have done an interview with a journalist, or typically in TV they will ask you to complete a consent form for your interview and then a separate consent form (often called 'Stills/materials release') for any photographs or videos you are allowing them to use. Typically, these are signed on the day of filming. Once you have signed that form, then withdrawing consent is trickier. Some production companies might send the forms out in advance to sign. If they do and you sign/send back before filming, you can still withdraw. It only gets tricky if you've filmed and signed the forms but for something this sensitive if you did have second thoughts about it after filming then they should still listen to your concerns and may even be able to answer questions that you have only just thought of or causing you worry; however this is not always guaranteed.
Before saying ‘yes’ to a specific interview, these are the questions you need to ask the media:
1. What is the overriding title of the article/production?
2. Is the media article/production just you or is it a collection of stories?
3. Who are all of the people being interviewed for the media article/production? Who else is featured in the piece?
4. Who are the interviewers? What views do they have on reproductive rights and abortion?
5. Are they affiliated with any pro-life networks, funding or organisations?
6. Is the media article/production a platform, supporting a topic that is for opposing views on a highly political/current media topic? If so, what is it? (Is this something you want your TFMR baby loss story aligned with?)
7. Is the article/programme commissioned or is this just at 'idea' stage? There is the risk you could explain your story to the journalist (which is an undertaking in itself) and it then not be used.
8. What has the journalist/producer worked on previously? What have the TV company made before? (Gives you an idea of their credentials / topics they have tackled before)
9. What support can you provide me during filming (if TV), after filming and after broadcast? They have a responsibility for the welfare of their contributors. Who will be the point of contact for any concerns or questions during filming and after broadcast (as often media is made up of freelancers who move onto other projects)
10. If TV or radio - will it be live or pre - recorded?
11. If they ask for any photographs that you may wish to share to tell your story, please consider how you feel about those being in the public domain? and general public’s reaction - all our babies are beautiful but sadly not everyone will think that.
12. Where will the interview be filmed? How would you feel about filming at your house? It is perfectly reasonable to ask the producer to find a neutral location to film if you are not comfortable having the filming at your home. This happens all the time and a totally reasonable request. You can also ask for no exteriors of your home too if you did do the interview at home - for some they might find it easier /more comfortable at home.
13. Will I be able to view the piece prior to publication/broadcast? You can insist that you see this before agreeing to take part as a condition of yours for safety.
Before saying ‘yes’ to a specific interview, these are the questions you need to ask yourself:
Am I emotionally and mentally well enough to tell my story? This is especially important if it’s still quite soon after your TFMR or if you are still suffering with PTSD. To be 100% sure, why not talk through the pros and cons with someone you trust. If it’s not the right time now, maybe it will be at a later date, there will always be more opportunities to work with. the media in the future, there is no rush…
Am I comfortable with my family, friends, colleagues, neighbours and local community knowing about my experiences?
Will going public cause me unnecessary stress? Can I deal with extra stress at the moment? (this may include being targeted online and having to know that the public are commenting online about your choices surrounding your loss)
As well as TFMR Mamas CIC, what other support do I have around me through this process? Family? Friends? Healthcare professionals? Charities?
How much detail do I want to share? It’s worth taking time before the interview to consider what you do and don’t want to mention rather than blurting out everything which you may later wish you hadn’t shared.
Do I want to remain anonymous or use my first name only? Journalists do not like their interviewees to give false names. The decision is yours, but whatever you decide it’s important to let the journalist know before the interview. If the Media team/ journalist agrees to anonymity or using only your first name, please ensure that you have this agreement in writing before the interview, duly signed by ALL Parties that are part of the interview/production.
Am I happy to have a photo printed with an article? Again, it is important to let the Media team/journalist know either way before the interview.
Am I happy for people to look me up on Twitter or Facebook once my story is in the public domain? If not, check your privacy settings and lock everything down well ahead of the article/production going LIVE.
Is my healthcare team happy to be named? In most cases, it’s best to protect the privacy of the healthcare professionals involved in your care rather than naming them.
What types of media am I happy to do? There are pros and cons - for example, radio allows more anonymity than TV; print/online media could be less stressful as you won’t have to ‘perform under pressure’.
How will I feel if aspects of the story are not told as you would like? It’s important that you establish what kind of approval you will have before release. Once you have given an interview, some organisations will allow you to pull out if you don’t like the final piece, but most will not, ensure you know the conditions BEFORE sharing. Some editors will correct factual inaccuracies, or print apologies if information is incorrect, but these are rarely as eye-catching as the original story. Editors are usually happy to edit or remove a piece from their online content if there are any inaccuracies.