Following is a brief excerpt from a fascinating article on the blog of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, addressing the potentially powerful emotional impact upon journalists who personally investigate and report on major traumas in society.
Reporters at Risk Are No Longer Alone: Tips on Covering Mass Shootings
“…Part of the challenge is to our ethics: What to say about a perpetrator, how to approach witnesses and survivors and family members, how much explicit detail and imagery to include in news reports? And part of the challenge is emotional: How can journalists and news organizations protect themselves from psychological injury when covering unspeakable horror?”
According to Shapiro, this is some of what we’ve learned from covering mass shootings worldwide:
Journalists are, on the whole, a resilient tribe. Like firefighters and other first responders, we rush toward danger and crises with purpose and skill. But psychological injury is also real –anywhere from 5 to 15 per cent of non-combat journalists describe changes in themselves consistent with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Stay connected to your colleagues – peer support matters. The journalists at greatest risk following any highly traumatic assignment are those isolated from their colleagues. Basic trauma awareness and a culture of peer support help both individual journalists and news organizations contend with the most challenging assignments….”
For the complete article on the blog, go to: