Interviews With Vampyres – A Community Caution
Often the Vampyre Community is approached by journalists seeking Vampyres to interview. Just as not everyone in an online or even offline community can be trusted to be who (or even what) they claim to be, the same can be said about journalists. Often a journalist’s (or editor’s, or the paper’s) view can put a “spin” on any interview, to cast a minority in a bad light no matter what was really said in the interview. This section presents a brief advisory on how to deal with such requests for interview.
With the recent news in SA media about the return of the SAPS so-called “occult related crime” (ORC) Unit , there has been some resurgence in media interest in matters relating to the occult, including sensationalist and wildly inaccurate “expose’s” on magickal practice, Paganism, and also the Vampyre subculture. There have been some rather horribly distorted and sensationalist articles placed in South African press an these topics, with full attention given to self-proclaimed “occult experts” who reflect if nothing else, poor knowledge on the subject matter, and an over-abundance of religious prejudice.
Predictably, and by stark contrast, almost no chance is given to the persecuted minority group to respond in the media, other than via an interview, and all too often these interviews lead to yet more misrepresentation as it simply presents yet another opportunity for the paper to play to the weight of ignorant public opinion and generate more sensationalism – and increase sales.
Interviews With Vampyres:
The general trend in most cases appears to be to seek out interviews with active members in the Vampyre Community, and then to misrepresent and distort interviews given in order to lend substance and credence to illogical “Satanic Ritual Abuse” (SRA) doctrine, otherwise termed “Satanic panic”, quite often fueled by conservative religious agendas which in fact spread misunderstanding, perpetuates ignorant attitudes about little-known groups, and to create hysteria with the aim of increasing their sales.
Exceptions appear to be few and far between, and this serves as an advisory to the general SA Vampyre Community. Participants are asked to perform the following checks and balances if approached by a journalist for an interview, email or otherwise, and if considering granting such interview requests:
1) Check the journalist’s credentials – are they who they say they are? Who do they work for? Check the internet for reposted articles by the same journalist. Have they covered similar topics before? How did they report on similar topics – was it positive, was it negative, was it accurate, was it true – or could you make out prejudice in their articles?
2) What media organization do they work for or represent? Is it a small town paper, a tabloid seeking scandal, sensation, or a gossip rag? Is it a nationally distributed paper that tends to give unbiased or factual and unemotional views? How is the paper rated or generally regarded? Do they freely mix religious moralizing with current events and present it as “news”? How do you think they would present your interview on vampyrism?
3) Evaluate the knowledge the journalist has on the VC by the sort of questions they pose, and try to also determine their intent by looking at these questions as well. Is the journalist as an individual unprejudiced or unbiased? Are they consummate professionals? Are they just looking for a ‘scoop’? Are they hostile to the VC? Do they perhaps harbor religious or other prejudices? Consider the damage done to the image of the community by granting such an interview to such an individual, regardless of what is said to them.
4) Evaluate your own knowledge about the community, and your own ability to express yourself clearly when answering any of the questions they ask you. How do you think you will express yourself? Do you think you will be able to answer questions in a way that cannot be misinterpreted or that won’t be damaging to the image of the community?
5) Realize that, should you be misquoted, or your statements distorted, journalists in this country do not always honor the good faith placed in them by the public by printing retractions or corrections. Often mainline news does not pay any heed to objections or letters sent to them by minority groups or participants in a “fringe” subculture they may feel “nobody cares about”.
6) Bear in mind that you need to keep your dayside details (name, location, employer, other identifying particulars etc) separate and totally out of any interview – in this country we are never sure how far our legal protections extend in terms of the various forms of victimization that could result from having your picture or dayside name printed in such an article or interview. Never use an email address with your dayside name in it to do interviews.
7) Altered images – although some journalists who meet you face to face may keep their word in blurring a photo of you for publication, there are ways to “un-blur” such photos, particularly if the paper retains the original material. Who would you like them to supply your photo to? Is it worth the risk?
8) Some journalists demand to meet face to face, even in a public place such as a coffee shop or restaurant. This is NOT recommended. You never know if they have a photographer across the street with a telephoto lens to snap your conversation about vampyrism through the lounge window just to sell their paper that much better. If they are not willing to budge on a face to face meeting, then it is not a sincere interview they are after, but a way to expose you as a Vampyre.
9) Video, telephonic or recorded conversations are NOT recommended. Phone call records may be used to identify and locate you later, and voice or video recordings to identify you. Again, participants are asked to consider the potential harm that could result from an unscrupulous journalist or staffer who might have the contacts to trace or even use such material for blackmail or other nefarious purposes.
10) Not all journalists are unfit to be trusted, and not all newspapers and media groups are after sensationalist “news”, but past experience is a good teacher – and it is better to be safe than sorry. If at any time you feel uncomfortable or pressured to talk about anything you do not feel at ease discussing, it is your legal and constitutional right to refuse to be interviewed, and we strongly advise you to do so.
If in any doubt, please consult a member of the SA Vampyre Alliance (SAVA) with any enquiries, or refer any enquiries from journalists seeking information about the Vampyre Community to the SA Vampyre Culture Site.