By now, having completed this module, you should know what traumatic stress is; what PTSD, ASD and secondary traumatic stress effects are; what the effects of traumatic stress are; why it is important for journalists to know about these effects; how to interview people who have experienced a traumatic event; how journalists can deal with a stressful work life; and where to get more information for continued learning.
The biggest hurdle when covering tragedies involving children is getting access to information. Stricter confidentiality laws govern everything from their school and hospital records to court and child-welfare files.
Young journalists will often encounter violence among their first reporting experiences. The effects of catastrophe and cruelty are newsworthy, particularly when victims are numerous, are famous or are symbolic of something that we all relate to and hold dear: a child killed in a schoolroom; a nurse held hostage in a hospital.
Similar to police, firefighters, and first responders to critical incidents, journalists are often exposed to highly stressful, traumatic situations, and required to bear witness to others who have been overwhelmed by traumatic events.
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.