Welcome to CSR Nation
Hoping some of you seasoned reporters can help me. I am doing some audio transcription of some police interviews. A couple of the interviews are of girls that, I believe, are under 18. My question is, do I need to worry about finding that information out and then replacing their names throughout the transcript or will the judge in the case just handle the privacy issue. I've done audio transcription before where the person on the tape tells you that the name needs to be redacted or changed throughout the transcript. Just curious if any of you know the answer to this.
My guess is that it is the attorneys and the judge who will seal these transcripts, and so I should just transcribe them as I hear them unless someone on the tape or the attorney tells me otherwise. In one audio the officer says on the tape that the girl will be referred to as Jane Doe throughout the tape so on that one I put her name in brackets as "Jane Doe" whenever her name was accidentally used.
Thanks in advance for all your help:-)
I am not sure in police interviews how you would do it. I would start by asking the person who hired you to do the work if there is custom and practice to guide you.
If there is not, however, my strong opinion is that the default is anonymity. We don't know and can't predict the potential consequences if the alleged victims' names become public. Hashed this out with a respected and trusted agency owner when I reported some depositions having to do with clergy sexual abuse. If they just call the complaining witness Jane Doe, or Jane Doe One, etc., just transcribe what you hear minus the brackets; that's what they said. If there is a full name, say Bruce Kingston (totally fictional, FWIW), and I hear it in testimony, the first time it appears, I write in the transcript, "Bruce K. [redacted]." It's "Bruce K." thereafter.
Hope this helps.