Dart Center, CBC and Canadian Forum launch toolkit for coverage of trauma and disaster

Leaders in the field of journalist safety today unveiled a new suite of online resources designed to better prepare newsrooms, journalists and educators for coverage of violence, conflict and tragedy.

Trauma Aware Journalism (TAJ): A News Industry Toolkit features a series of free “micro-learning” videos, study guides and other online resources on how journalists can most ethically and effectively cover people and communities affected by trauma, as well as on how to protect the mental health of news professionals.

The project, available at TraumaAwareJournalism.org, is produced by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, CBC/Radio-Canada, and the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma.

“Journalists worldwide cover the most vulnerable people while themselves contending with the impact of stress and trauma,” said Bruce Shapiro, Executive Director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia Journalism School. “This new free toolkit builds on years of journalistic innovation and evidence-based trauma science to bring news professionals and students alike foundational skills to strengthen reporting and enhance resilience.” 

The TAJ videos showcase experts and seasoned journalists sharing their wisdom on everything from interviewing techniques to ethics to taking care of yourself, says project lead Dave Seglins, a journalist at CBC News and a fellow of the Dart Center.

“We are constantly covering horrible events and tragedies. Many newsrooms and journalists have had zero training or preparation,” said Seglins. “We hope these tools can help to change that.”

Jane Hawkes, co-founder and executive producer of the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma said the TAJ project helps fill a long-standing gap in training and education.

“We hope these resources are especially useful in journalism schools, to help the next generation start their careers on the best footing possible,” said Hawkes. “The video series offers a unique opportunity to hear how some of the best practitioners in the world handle the significant effects of trauma on others and themselves.”

Today marks the launch of TAJ’s first phase, notably videos (in English, and with French subtitles) and instruction on eight key topics: trauma interviewing, planning for difficult stories, leadership, reporting on vulnerable communities, ethics, traumatic imagery, interviewing children and journalist self-care.

Project partners plan to expand the TraumaAwareJournalism.org video library in coming years to include additional topics such as media peer support, emerging research, newsroom protocols, and enhanced counseling for news professionals.

For more information contact us at [email protected], or directly:

Dave Seglins
TAJ Executive Producer
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)
[email protected]

Ariel Ritchin
TAJ Executive Producer

Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma
[email protected] 

Jane Hawkes
TAJ Executive Producer
Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma
[email protected]