Journalism and Trauma

Journalists report on major news stories daily. Some of them happen to deal with trauma. Is it then important for reporters to know how to deal with this type of reporting?

The assistant professor of journalism and media studies at the American University of Beirut and former journalist, Jad Melki, said that “trauma journalism should be a fixture of journalism curricula and training programs.”

In Melki’s article, “Why Journalists Need to Learn About Trauma,” he describes situations in which reporters had no consideration for trauma victims.

In one case “a swarm of reporters and camera people surrounded a grieving Ethiopian woman who covered her face hiding her tears, only to find a TV crewmember literally yanking her hand away from her face to get a better shot,” Melki said.

Courtesy of Google photos

I personally think it is important for journalists to learn about trauma and understand how they can still report without being intrusive or harmful to a source.  I recently took a course at newsu.org that dealt with journalism and trauma that I found to be very helpful. 

The course was a great way to become more educated on the issue of trauma.  The course also described how reporting on trauma can be detrimental to the journalist. 

Courtesy of Google photos

There are sources for journalists to learn more about trauma.  The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma provides tips on how to be a better trauma reporter.  It also provides facts on the affect trauma reporting has on journalists and much more.

As a future journalist, I think it is important to learn about trauma, not only for the protection of trauma victims, but also for my own health.  

What do you think? Is it important for a journalist to learn about trauma?

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