New road collision reporting guidelines have been created for UK journalists by the University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy.
The guidelines hope to set an “industry standard” in regards to improving the tone and narrative used by writers when reporting accidents that occur on British roads.
There are currently existing rules that must be used when covering stories related to suicide or refugees.
The academy is calling all digital and print reporters to change their reporting as there is still a “significant amount written and broadcast that contributes to a culture that dehumanises those injured and killed on the roads”.
The draft guidelines are produced in collaboration with national roads policing, academics and experts in the field, road safety charities, and the National Union of Journalists’ ethics council. They were also advised by IMPRESS.
The guidelines’ four main clauses “speak to core journalistic principles of accuracy, fairness, non-discrimination, and justice”.
John Ranson from the National Union of Journalists’ ethics council said: “Good reporting should inform. It should help the public understand what has happened. And good opinion journalism should provoke debate and challenge the audience.
“But too much of the media’s coverage of road collisions has played into and reinforced lazy generalisations.”
He added: “We hope these guidelines will equip journalists to report on road collisions with accuracy and humanity, bringing the same standards of integrity to this topic as to any other.”