Resources to help journalists protect their mental and emotional health while covering traumatic events

| February 22, 2016

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Many journalists pay a high personal price for covering traumatic events. Fortunately, journalists who cover violence and human suffering can find support and online resources.

For example, in Pakistan, the University of Peshawar’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication now operates a trauma centre for media professionals.

There are numerous resources online, including the following:

-The International Center for Journalists’ Disaster and Crisis Coverage manual covers journalism and trauma issues extensively, including recognizing signs of traumatic stress, reactions after witnessing violence, and tips for self-care and peer support.

-Chapter 10 in the Committee to Protect Journalists’ safety manual reviews signs of stress and outlines how media professionals can take care of themselves and each other.

-The Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin offers a guide that addresses ethical issues related to trauma and journalists.

The website of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma features special sections for journalists who cover violent conflict and other atrocities. There are tip sheets on how reporters can minimize harm when working with victims and survivors. In particular, the Dart Center’s Self Care Tips for News Media Personnel Exposed to Traumatic Events are based on research on the well-being and resilience of news professionals in the field. They provide a good starting point.

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Photo:A journalist rescues a woman injured in a shootout between armed men and police at Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, Sept. 21, 2013. Credit: Reuters