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Mar 31 2010

Tip Sheet

Simulated Trauma in the Classroom

Classroom Study Questions

Study questions to help prepare journalism students for an educational exercise using a simulation of a traumatic event.

Before heading into a simulated traumatic event, students should be armed with traditional classroom knowledge about how to deal with traumatic events. The following classroom study questions can help prepare journalism students for a trauma training exercise:

Read Chapter 1 of “Covering Violence” (Simpson & Coté, 2006) and answer the following questions:

1.) If you are at the scene of a crime, accident or natural disaster, what are overt signs that an individual may be having an immediate psychological reaction to a traumatic event? In other words, as a journalist, what "symptoms" should you look for?

2.) Assume that you have been assigned to cover a traumatic event like a violent crime, fatal auto accident or natural disaster. In a couple of sentences each, answer the following questions:

  1. How should you decide whether to interview a person experiencing one of the situations described above? Briefly explain.

  2. If you do interview an individual who has experienced a traumatic reaction, how should you begin this process? How should you start the interview?

  3. If the person breaks down and starts to cry as you interview him or her, how exactly should you respond? What should you do?

  4. If the person asks if you know the condition of a loved one, and if you know the loved one has been seriously hurt or injured, how should you respond?

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Randal Beam

  • Randal Beam is an associate professor at the University of Washington Department of Communication. He teaches courses on journalism and the mass media and is a co-author of “The American Journalist in the 21st Century: U.S. News People at the Dawn of a New Millennium.”

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