International Journalism Festival Session: "When everything is urgent: supporting global journalists under pressure"

April 19, 2024
Hotel Brufani
PG, Italy

How do you manage and support yourself and your newsroom when the demands are ceaseless and the topics emotionally challenging? Our panelists, representing various geographies and operational contexts, will delve into the profound impact of this often unrelenting work and share insights and lessons learned on coping mechanisms for mental health, addressing burnout, and responding to other challenges that arise in the pursuit of investigative journalism. Moderated by Gavin Rees.

This session is part of the 2024 International Journalism Festival and sponsored by Humanity United.



Rajneesh Bhandari is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Nepal Investigative Multimedia Journalism Network (NIMJN) which produces investigative stories on social justice and accountability issues. NIMJN also trains journalists in advanced investigative multimedia reporting and works on the well-being of journalists in Nepal. NIMJN supported 400+ journalists in Nepal during COVID-19 and has been providing free psychological counseling to journalists.Rajneesh started his journalism career at Nepal’s top Kantipur Television Network, working for seven years and producing important stories. His best-known investigative story was on lawmakers misusing diplomatic passports. He has also worked as a reporter, multimedia, and data editor for focusing on investigative reporting on global issues. His multimedia work on different issues has appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic, NPR, AJ+, Bloomberg, BBC Reel, and other outlets.He is a Fulbright Humphrey alumnus of the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and the recipient of the Themis Speak-up Award 2022.

Rawan Damen is Director-General of Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ). She is a media consultant with 25+ years of experience in television and digital production and training in addition to media management. Before joining ARIJ in January 2020, Rawan worked on producing and directing more than 30 hours of documentaries and investigative TV stories, published in different languages. She was a senior commissioner at Al Jazeera Network for 10 years (2006-2016), leading a team who produced more than 250 documentary and investigative TV episodes. She also led large interactive multi-language international platforms.Rawan received a master’s degree with honours in media and communication from the University of Leeds in the UK, 2003. She was also awarded the Media Creativity Award from the Arab Thought Foundation in Beirut, 2015.

Annie Kelly is a journalist for The Guardian and Observer newspapers.  She is currently the editor of the Rights and Freedom project, a global human rights reporting and investigations project. Prior to this she ran investigative reporting series on human trafficking, labour exploitation and human rights abuses in global supply chains. Annie has also been a foreign correspondent, reporting from countries including Liberia, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Uganda.


Gavin Rees is Senior Advisor for Training and Innovation at the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. an organisation dedicated to promoting ethical approaches to the coverage of trauma and violence. Gavin has been working since 2008 as a trainer and consultant to news organisations, film production companies and media support organisations in more than 25 countries. His work has a particular focus on deepening journalists' capacity to cover challenging human rights abuses. With a prior background in documentary filmmaking and broadcast journalism, Gavin was a producer on the BBC film Hiroshima, which won an International Emmy in 2006. He has also served as a board member for both the UK Psychological Trauma Society and the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and is currently a visiting fellow at the Media School at Bournemouth University.