Resources for reporting on refugees and displaced people

| February 12, 2018

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This week, our Farmer stories from Cameroon, South Sudan, and Uganda feature people who are finding ways to feed themselves and improve their living conditions while staying in temporary settlements. These families had to leave their homes during violent conflict. In some cases, they are refugees living in another country; in other cases, they are displaced inside the borders of their own country.

Worldwide, 60 million people have been forced to leave their homes. Reporting on these situations can be challenging. Many refugees and displaced people have seen or experienced horrors during the conflict. Many have lost loved ones. Many struggle to support their families in difficult conditions, with limited access to food, shelter, and health care.

Journalists who wish to cover these stories can find useful resources online to help them plan, produce, and present their coverage.

Some key skills for reporting on refugees include:

  • Understanding and using correct terminology, including the differences between refugees, internally displaced people, migrants, asylum seekers, and so on.
  • Understanding the basics of international humanitarian law and the rights of displaced people.
  • Responsible and respectful use of photos and video.
  • Interviewing people who have experienced trauma.
  • Providing balanced coverage of the needs of arrivals and host communities.
  • Ensuring diverse voices are included in the coverage, including marginalized groups such as women and members of minority groups.

The following guide was created by UNHCR in partnership with the UK’s National Union of Journalists. It explains commonly used terms and offers tips for interviewing vulnerable people:

In this article, four experienced journalists share their experiences covering stories of migration and refugees, and a clinical psychologist offers techniques for interviewing victims of trauma:

An international NGO called Search for Common Ground produced this guide, called Covering Trauma. It includes chapters on how and why journalists should report on these stories. The full guide is available here: