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2013 NEDAwareness Week Blogroll Criteria Guidelines
As you prepare your blog, be sure to be mindful of your potential audience: A unique blend of professionals, researchers, family members, educators, activists, individuals personally affected as well as those new to the eating disorder field. NEDA will not post blogs that contain pro-anorexia or pro-bulimia content (images and other content explicitly encouraging behaviors characteristic of an eating disorder), and we prioritize those that adhere to our responsible coverage guidelines. This blogging guide should be used with Guidelines for Sharing Stories of Recovery and Responsible Media Coverage, located in the Talk About It and Learn section of the NEDA website.
How to Blog Responsibly:
Eating disorders are serious illnesses that must be covered in a careful and responsible manner. Whether you are sharing your story or providing tools, resources, information or research, here are some suggestions to guide you in your coverage of eating disorders:
- Don't focus on graphic images or descriptions of the bodies of eating disorder sufferers. Research proves that coverage dramatizing dangerous thinness can provoke a "race to the bottom" among other sufferers, i.e., "She is thinner than I am and she's still alive. I should lose more weight."
- Don't play the numbers game. "She ate only 400 calories a day" or "He took as many as 10 laxatives at a time" can turn a well-intentioned article into an instructive piece for those who are struggling or vulnerable to an eating disorder.
- Watch out for "anorexia chic." Eating disorders and their sufferers shouldn't be glamorized or, worse yet, presented as people with "astounding will-power" or "incredible self-control."
- Be careful with narratives of those who "bravely fought their illness alone." The reality is that most people do not get to a place of full recovery without professional help. The vast majority of those who beat eating disorders do it only with a team of trained medical and mental health professionals. Consider how you would not want to write about someone "bravely fighting" alcohol or drug addiction without proper intervention and professional care.
- Try to strike a balance between "serious" and "hopeful," and always encourage people to seek help for themselves or loved ones who are suffering. Recovery is long, difficult and often expensive, but it is achievable and there are many options available.
- Include contact numbers, addresses, or web links to information and treatment resources wherever possible. Otherwise you will raise fears and concerns without providing an outlet for help and support. (Our toll-free Information and Referral Helpline, 800-931-2237, and website, www.NationalEatingDisorders.org, provide great nationwide resources.)
- If you need more information, ask! The National Eating Disorders Association has the latest resources and in many cases we may be able to point you to treatment professionals or prevention volunteers in your area.
A Note About Pro-Anorexia, Pro-Bulimia, and Thinspiration Websites and Blogs:
Pro-ana, pro-mia and thinspo are short for pro-anorexia, pro-bulimia, and thinspiration, respectively. These terms refer to web content that intentionally encourages or glorifies dangerous behaviors characteristic of those who struggle with the eating disorders Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa, which can be life-threatening.
Such sites are dangerous, both for those who have an eating disorder and those who do not, but may be vulnerable, and it is critical that coverage or mention of this topic be responsible because failure to do so may inadvertently increase traffic to the sites, with potentially devastating consequences for your readers.
Please review our Media Guidelines for Responsible Coverage on Pro-Anorexia, Pro-Bulimia, and Thinspiration to avoid some of the common dangers associated with coverage of this issue.
Thank you for participating in the 2013 NEDAwareness Week Blogroll and for your commitment to accurate, sensitive, and responsible blogging! If you have any questions while preparing your blog, please contact Ellen Domingos, Program Assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org.