GermanWings Crash Kills 150

A German airliner crashed into the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board. Below are tip sheets and other resources for journalists covering this evolving story.

A Germanwings airliner en route from Barcelona, Spain, to Düsseldorf, Germany, dropped from the sky and crashed into the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board.

On Wednesday, evidence from a voice recorder on board indicated that one pilot left the cockpit before the plane’s descent, and was unable to get back inside. 

“The [captain] is knocking lightly on the door, and there is no answer,” said a French military investigator. “And then he hits the door stronger, and no answer. There is never an answer.” 

Alone at the controls, the plane's co-pilot Andres Lubitz apparently refused to allow the captain to re-enter and set the jet on a course to crash into the mountains in southeastern France.

Lubitz had been treated by mental health professionals for suicidal tendencies "for a long period of time" before receiving his pilot's license, according to a statement released by the public prosecutor's office in Düsseldorf on Monday. Prosecutors have questioned many of Lubitz’s friends and colleagues, but have not yet identified a clear warning or motive behind the apparently deliberate crash.

The Dart Center has tips and resources below for journalists who are tasked with covering tragedy on this scale:

Covering Disaster

Recovery from Unnatural Death: A guide by psychiatrist Ted Rynearson for friends and family of someone who has died violently or suddenly.

The Dart Center's quick tips, in-depth resources and links to other organizations on "Covering Disasters."

"Tragedies and Journalists": the Dart Center's comprehensive guide for reporters, editors, photographers and managers on every aspect of reporting tragedy.

An interview with Irving Redlener, M.D. on the role that news media play in aiding recovery and drawing lessons to better manage future catastrophes.

Guidance on working with emergency services from Dr. Anne Eyre, specialist in trauma and disaster management.

"Best Practices in Trauma Reporting," drawn from a decade of Dart Award-winning stories.

Tip Sheets on how to effectively cover a disaster and self-care amid disaster from Joe Hight, former editor, Colorado Springs Gazette. 

Scientific consensus, made readable, on the effects of traumatic coverage on journalists, on media consumers in general and on children in particular.

Joe Hight, former editor, Colorado Springs Gazette, who oversaw the paper's award-winning coverage of the Murrah Federal Building bombing, provides tips on Self-Care For Journalists Amid Disaster, as well as a five step plan on Covering Disaster Effectively.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings, psychologist and Dart Center Research Director, Elana Newman, compiled tips on how journalists leave a tragedy.

Australian psychiatrist Alexander McFarlane offers guidance on mental health issues and how they evolve in regions devastated by natural disasters.

Dart Center Executive Director Bruce Shapiro spoke in Melbourne, Australia about reckoning with the aftermath of disaster.

How to deal with people caught up in tragic events.

Tips for managers and editors to help them prepare and support the reporters in the field.

Suggestions to assist healthier newsrooms and better journalism, based on research on well-being and resilience, and practical experience of news professionals in the field.

The International Center for Journalists's two-part guide on Disaster and Crisis Coverage and Journalism and Trauma

german language resources

Comprehensive German-language website

TIPPS für Redaktionsleiter  

TIPPS für den Umgang mit Rettungskräften

TIPPS für Interviews mit traumatisierten Menschen

TIPPS für Berichte über Suizide


A comprehensive tip sheet for journalists on covering suicide.

A tip sheet for journalism educators, developed in collaboration with Dart Academic Fellow and San Diego State Associate Professor of Journalism, Amy Schmitz Weiss.

Tips sheets, video and other resources from our 2012 two-day workshop on covering suicide. 

In this three-part series, Meg Spratt, with Dart Fellow Liisa Hyvarinen, Dart Executive Committee Chair Emeritus Frank Ochberg, and others, explore the issues and complexities of responsible suicide coverage.


Quick tips on how to support your reporters during times of tragedy.

When Tragedy Hits the Newsroom: 


Quick tips on self-care from Dart Centre Asia Pacific.

Self-care advice from former editor Joe Hight.