Ochberg Fellows reflect on the opportunities provided by the Dart Center fellowships.
The Ochberg Fellowship opened a whole new world for me. Discussions during the fellowship seminar led me to an international reporting project in Rwanda and Bosnia. Back at home, the fact that I attended the Fellowship has given me credibility with victims' advocates and mental health professionals. My daily court beat has improved exponentially due to everything I have learned.
—Gina Barton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (2000)
The chances to stop and take stock are all too rare as a reporter. The chance to stop and take stock with such a lively, open and stimulating group as gathered by Dart was unique. It was humbling to realize what a lot of great journalism there is in an industry that moans a lot about dumbing down. We could not stop talking day and night, and the compassion and humanity on display was refreshing. It was like the best retreat—set apart yet blindingly relevant.
—David Loyn, BBC (2005)
There's a whole dimension to journalism that we've been programmed to ignore: the emotional landscape of a story. The Dart Fellowship, above all, puts a language to this terrain, providing a deeper understanding of trauma and feelings we encounter in sources as well as within ourselves. The benefit is better journalism with a bigger heart. Is there anything better to strive for?
—Miles Moffeit, Denver Post (2004)
Through the Fellowship I have met colleagues whose work inspires and nurtures me: it is nourishing and exciting to discuss our work and share ideas how we might best help influence and support the work of others. When I feel discouraged, remembering that I am an Ochberg Fellow and that I have this wonderful group of other journalists and producers who I know are there for me helps me keep going.
—Laura Jackson, WHYY Radio (2000)
Many ideas cross one's mind when working in war zones: how to work and deal with the people around you, your own safety, and what happens when you return. The Dart Center Ochberg Fellows program has helped me think about these issues and find a better way to work.
—Ron Haviv, VII Photo (2004)
The confidence I gained through the Fellowship guided me from reporting on a specific, horribly violent crime in my community to writing a book about the ripple effects of that crime on the families of the perpetrators and victims, and the community at large, placing adolescent violence into a societal context. I don't think I would have had the confidence to approach mothers and fathers of killers and their victims, talking with them about these painful, sensitive issues, had I not learned a lot about traumatic stress and the after-effects of violent crime from fellow journalists and trauma experts through the Dart Center.
I recognized how my work as a reporter covering daily crime and tragedy, culminating in 9/11, has affected me as human being. I realized this more profoundly when I shared experiences and heard the stories of reporters who covered the Iraq War. I no longer felt alone and isolated in my grief and that has been a great comfort when I recollect my memories.
—Maria Alvarez, New York Post (2002)
Getting a Dart Center Ochberg Fellowship was one of the best experiences of my 20 plus years in broadcast journalism. I learned so much, made so many life long connections, and it helped re-charge my battery. It was an amazing time to share and learn from some of the best and brightest in the business.
—Mike Walter, WUSA-TV, Washington, D.C. (2005)
Since artists study light and color, physicians study human anatomy, and lawyers review precedents and rules of evidence, you might think that journalists would pay special attention to crucial elements of their work. Violence and trauma are part of so many stories we cover; yet the Dart Center is the only group that has made a specialty of looking at the effects of trauma on individuals and society, and on the ways that journalists tell stories about violence and loss.
—Peter Spielmann, Associated Press (2002)
Being part of a community of fellows dedicated to treating survivors of trauma with dignity has helped me to write about healing after terror in such countries as Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. I can't think of a more dedicated and generous group of journalists, and I depend on their support and guidance.
—Julia Leiblich, Chicago Tribune (2002)
In more ways than I can describe, being a Dart Fellow taught me how to balance my life ... More than anything else, the stories of which I've been a part or heard have reminded me that journalists are human too, no matter how much we see ourselves as above it all.
—Jimmie Briggs, Freelance (2000)
The Dart fellowship connected me with an international network of journalists who care about the impact their work has on the vulnerable and recognize the effects on their colleagues. They helped me and others at my newspaper in New Jersey when we had to deal with the deaths of hundreds in our community on September 11. And after I moved to Florida, the Dart community galvanized to help journalists grappling with the effects of several major hurricanes.
—Elaine Silvestrini, Tampa Tribune (2000)
The Ochberg Fellowship has brought me in contact with a community of journalists who care deeply about the actual consequences of their work beyond questions of career advancement. It is a fantastic thing at mid-career to find others who share the same ideals that brought us all into this vocation to begin with. This, for me, has been a source of strength and a powerful affirmation of what this calling is all about.