Voumard delicately steps around the issues of copyright and authority, ethics and responsibility, and the implications of writing this story. She admits, ‘For a journalist, the adrenaline – like the heart surge triggered by a new lover – kicks right through your guts as soon as a big story breaks … writing stories about life and death can induce a drug-like sensation.’
Voumard interviews a wide network of people, and intersperses extracts from the public record with her own experiences as she revisits landmarks and reflects on the trauma of the massacre. The result is a compelling and engaging book that speculates on the role of the journalist and more widely on the industry itself, raising questions that linger in the mind of the reader.
Anaya Latter, Readings Monthly April 2016
A fascinating case study in media betrayal . … An intelligent reflection on the two faces of journalism: a noble pursuit of truth and an exploitation of individual rights.
Carol Middleton, Australian Book Review April 2016
The Media and the Massacre is an important book in the canon of literature that examines the pitfalls of journalistic work and the ethics surrounding the relationship between reporters and their subjects. It raises important issues about the ways in which journalists communicate with their subjects, especially when working on books or longer form journalism and collaborative projects, in order to prevent fallout (of both the ethical and legal variety) at a later date. And it also highlights the ways in which journalistic behaviour has ramifications for the people who are interviewed in the aftermath of tragic events whether these be victims, first responders or eyewitnesses. It shows, as Voumard so eloquently writes at the outset, how journalists constantly tread a difficult, sometimes morally ambiguous, line:
At our best, we do good work — bear witness, seek truth, give voice, explain. At our worst we exploit our subjects.