Media group offers guidance for coverage in death of Tyre Nichols at hands of police

The National Association of Black Journalists is reminding newsrooms and reporters covering Tyre Nichols to be fair and accurate while showing a level of sensitivity, responsibility and support.

The NABJ believes Nichols’ story should be unapologetically told through “a careful lens” of the Black community.

The organization is extending its support to Black journalists, and all journalists worldwide, who are telling Nichols’ story with courage and conviction.

As a nation watches — and journalists cover — the brutality that Black people face by law enforcement in the country, the NABJ wants newsrooms across the country to ensure resources are available for staff members prioritizing their mental health.

“It will be painful not just for all those watching … but also for the Black reporters, editors, producers, photographers, videographers, community managers, etc., covering the story,” NABJ Director of Communications Kanya Stewart wrote in a post on the organization’s website.

Family members of Tyre Nichols, including sister Keyana Dixon, right, stand with Betty Williams, left, president of the greater Sacramento branch of the NAACP, along with other organizations, during a press conference at City Hall on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, for the killing of former Sacramento resident Tyre Nichols. Nichols died on Jan. 10 after being beaten by Memphis law enforcement officers.

These types of stories can trigger past traumatic experiences about police violence.

Any person can be affected by trauma, including media members who are tasked with reporting, seeking the truth, and holding necessary individuals or organizations accountable.

“We implore newsroom leaders to recognize that their Black staff members are more than just journalists and creators at this moment. Give them space to grieve, breathe and express themselves during such a devastating time,” said Stewart.

In light of the release of the bodycam footage leading to Nichols’ demise, the NABJ advised managers and other media members to be mindful of the use of how they produce content such as images, audio and video so that it adds value to the story and doesn’t create unnecessary trauma for the audience or reporter.