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Victim Offender Mediation Media Coverage Has Both Potential and Pitfalls

Szmania, Susan Jennifer
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) VOMA Connections no. 19 (Winter): 6, 10. Downloaded 3 May 2005.

Restorative justice initiatives such victim
offender mediation (VOM) programs are
currently enjoying increased national media
attention. In the past year, several magazines
and television and radio talk shows
have devoted space to restorative justice
programs. The journalist Jan Goodwin, for
example, has published articles on victim
offender mediation in the April 2004 issue
of O Magazine and in the May 2004 issue
of Marie Claire magazine. On television,
coverage has appeared on The Oprah
Winfrey Show in November 2004 and on
The Larry King Show in January 2005. Online
discussions have also been held, such
as one on Oprah’s discussion board
For advocates of restorative justice, this
national media attention is exciting. It not
only raises public awareness about restorative
justice, but it also opens doors for
sources of much-needed funding for new
and existing programs. However, this increased media attention
requires more scrutiny of how VOM is
presented because of the misconceptions
that may be inadvertently promoted through
the media spotlight. To illustrate the potentials
and pitfalls of media involvement in
VOM, this article looks at three recent VOM
television and online presentations. These
sources include The Oprah Winfrey Show
entitled. “Coming Face to Face with Your
Attacker� from October 25, 2004 on the
topic of restorative justice, the Oprah After
the Show program that subsequently aired
the question and answer session following
the main program on a cable television
channel, and the discussion
board in response to the television show. (excerpt)


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