After 25 years of this, I'm accustomed to dealing with the press. The same questions come up fairly frequently though, so this FAQ just for members of the Press.
Please let me be clear: I am passionate about helping others who have experienced online harassment, and I am more than happy to help you with a story about cyberbullying, Internet safety, or related issues. It's fine with me if you want to get technical background from me or ask for my help with someone who has a fresher case, who you then interview on-camera. Being on-camera is particularly stressful to me and takes a lot of energy—I'm an introvert. Also, every time there is any kind of press about our case, Hillyard goes nuttier again for a while and steps up his harassment of us (not that I will ever let that prevent me from speaking out).
It is, however, extremely important that whatever you do publish be accurate. I am not interested in being part of any pieces with a primary message of "the Internet is EVIL!" The Internet is a tool like any other. We could have been targeted by someone I met at church just as easily as by someone I encountered online.
- Will I still do interviews?
Yes, if you're with a reputable (meaning non-tabloid) organization and you are not seeking to do a sensationalized story. If you're a freelancer writing an article for a reputable publication, let me know where I can see your portfolio and who I can speak with to verify your credentials.
- How should you contact me?
Send a message explaining who you are and what organization you're with. I'll check. Make sure you've included a number where you can be reached. I don't give out my telephone number easily.
- When am I available for interviews?
That depends on my very busy schedule. Please contact me as soon as you realize that you're interested in an interview. I can be very flexible about telephone and email interviews.
- Can you interview or film Katie?
You may not speak with or film Katie. I've chosen to speak out on this issue—she hasn't. I will not bring additional stress into Katie's life or expose her to any further danger. More than one story has been canceled because a reporter got pushy on this issue. Remember, I don't need any publicity.
- Can you film in our home/my office/Katie's school etc.?
No. You can't film in or near our home, my place of business, our congregation, etc. You won't be showing any of our vehicles on camera, either. I wasn't so hardnosed before a stalker targeted us. I once used a friend's home, but a camera crew damaged the furniture there and refused to pay for the damages, so I won't even consider trying to make such arrangements again.
- Will I give you copies of various legal documentation?
Most of my evidence is already online. You can request copies of court documents from the courts themselves. I don't keep the originals laying around on the kitchen table (come on, this has been going on for twenty-five years now!). It'll be more credible for you to get certified copies of the documents straight from the the proper sources. I'm sure you have better resources to get them than I do, anyway.
- I can't work with those restrictions!
Then please contact WHOA about interviewing Jayne Hitchcock or someone that the organization has helped.