Always treat victims with dignity and respect - the way you want to be treated in a similar situation. Journalists will always seek to approach survivors, but reporters should do it with sensitivity, including knowing when and how to back off.
The skills needed to interact with people under such stressful and unpredictable conditions do not usually come naturally. The goal of this module is to explain what traumatic stress is and why it is useful for journalists to know about its effects.
The field of mass communication study is largely build upon “effects research,” the study of how media content (e.g., movies, newspaper articles, propaganda, television programs, etc.) affects some segment of the population. This research goes back about three-quarters of a century and has yielded a wide range of useful findings.
The stories journalists tell, visually and verbally, help the public make sense of confusing, threatening times. In fact there is evidence that putting language to traumatic experiences helps individuals cope. Although it is not a stated mission of the press to heal, articulating the event for others may have a therapeutic effect on the larger community.