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The Toll of War: Psychological Impact on Soldiers & Journalists
Poynter-Kent State Media Ethics Workshop
At the workshop "Covering Violence: Trauma and Journalism in Latin America," psychiatrist and researcher Anthony Feinstein presented his pioneering work on journalists who cover conflict. The workshop was held at the Columbia Journalism School in New York City on Oct. 13 and 14, 2009.
Download or listen to Professor of Psychiatry Anthony Feinstein:
Dr. Anthony Feinstein conducted the first studies investigating the psychological toll of covering war. His research showed that career war reporters face significant risk of developing symptoms of chronic emotional distress, ranging from depression and anxiety to alcohol and drug abuse, relationship breakdown and full-scale post-traumatic stress disorder. Feinstein said his finding that journalists who cover war show dramatically higher incidence of PTSD and major depression than other journalists "wasn't surprising," considering the much higher incidence of trauma they faced. More notable: they were not any more likely to face psychological help. Feinstein also discussed his more recent research into why some journalists seem attracted to high-risk assignments – what he calls “dangerous lives.” Asked whether his work, which focused on Western correspondents covering foreign conflicts, applied to journalists covering conflicts in their own countries, his answer was that the only way to know was to do further research.
When children are victims of violence, journalists have a responsibility to report the truth with compassion and sensitivity.
A 40-page guide to help journalists, photojournalists and editors report on violence while protecting both victims and themselves. Click here for a Ukrainian translation.
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