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Child Clinicians & the Media

Whether clinicians like it or not, children and families affected by trauma are routinely covered by the media. When that happens, clinicians often face difficult choices.

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Whether clinicians like it or not, children and families affected by trauma are routinely covered by the media. When that happens, clinicians often face difficult choices.

Are you nervous when a reporter calls you? Do you know how to help families facing tragedy respond to the media attention? Do you know how to effectively work with the media? Do you have a set of guidelines for yourself or your organization on how to respond to requests from the media? Do you know how to reach out to the media if you have a story that you want to be told?

Like clinicians, journalists have an important job to do, and they take their work very seriously. Children and families facing traumatic events make news—whether the stories are about adversity or triumph.

Audiences are powerfully affected when direct information comes from children, adolescents or family members. Yet balancing the needs and expectations of survivors, journalists and the public can be complex.

By working collaboratively with the media, we can better ensure that the stories of children and families are told responsibly and effectively lead to increased public awareness about the impact of exposure to trauma.

This guide is designed to help you be more effective in working with survivors and the media:

  • Victims and families: How can you help victims and families who are approached by the media or want to approach the media?
  • Journalists: How can you be more helpful as a news source?
  • Community: How can you improve community knowledge about trauma and trauma-focused programs for children?

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Elana Newman

  • Elana Newman, McFarlin Professor of Psychology at the University of Tulsa, has conducted research on a variety of topics regarding the psychological and physical response to traumatic life events, assessment of PTSD in children and adults, journalism and trauma, and understanding the impact of participating in trauma-related research from the trauma survivor's perspective.

Robert P. Franks

  • Robert P. Franks, Ph.D. directs the Connecticut Center for Effective Practice (CCEP), a division of the Child Health & Development Institute (CHDI) in Farmington, Connecticut and is an assistant clinical professor at the Yale University School of Medicine and the University of Connecticut Health Center, Department of Psychiatry. He is former director of the National Resource Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NRC) at Duke University Medical Center, serving the nationwide federally funded National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). His research and academic interests include child mental health policy, child trauma, the impact of media on children, journalism and child mental health, and public awareness and education.

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