Photojournalists are part of the team of first responders whenever a tragedy occurs. They are there to document the news event in pictures and their work can have a strong and lasting impact on the public consciousness and themselves.
The people involved in a major traumatic event are connected in a web of social and governmental relations. At the scene of the event, there will be victims, friends and family of victims who have come to the scene, and curious by-standers - some of them valuable witnesses, others eager for media exposure but with little substantive information to offer.
Journalists and therapists face similar challenges when they realize their subjects are at risk of further injury. Techniques may differ, but objectives are the same: to inform about sources of help. A therapist is not a lawyer or a security consultant, but a battered woman and an abused child need to know that shelters, restraining orders and a network of advocates are available. Therapy includes such referrals.
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.