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The Dart Center Style Guide for Trauma-Informed Journalism

This style guide is designed as a quick, authoritative reference for reporters, editors and producers working on tight deadlines. It includes brief evidence-informed guidance on news choices, language usage and ethics in reporting on the impact of trauma on individuals, families and communities; recommendations for appropriate use of relevant psychological and scientific terminology; and special considerations when reporting on consequential trauma-laden issues such as racism and sexual violence.

Unheard

This project focuses on 29 Alaskan women and men of different races and socio-economic backgrounds seeking to inspire change in Alaska’s justice system, and to de-stigmatize being a survivor of sexual violence. The judges called “Unheard” “exceptional, original journalism” that “puts the voices of survivors at the forefront” and “reimagines how trauma-aware, culturally-sensitive, collaborative reporting can be done.” They applauded the project’s “emphasis on the heterogeneity of sexual violence and trauma” and called the reporting approach “sensitive by design.” Originally published by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica on June 1, 2020.

George Floyd Coverage

Judges called the coverage of the killing of George Floyd and its aftermath "outstanding" and applauded the team for “helping readers understand that trauma doesn’t end easily or soon, but when addressed properly, it can become a catalyst for major change.” They described the long-form narrative, “George Floyd’s Search for Salvation” as “gripping” and “powerful” “where a symbol and a martyr became a man,” and called it “the definitive George Floyd story.” Originally published by The Star Tribune between May and December, 2020.

Contagion of Fear

This piece tells the story of Wyckoff hospital in Brooklyn at the height of the pandemic, the trauma experienced by healthcare workers, and the impact of fear on medical workers, patients, and other hospital personnel. Judges described “Contagion of Fear” as "deeply insightful” and “profoundly affecting” immersive reporting. They praised Shuster for allowing people to “speak for themselves, free of judgment or editorializing," and called Meridith Kohut’s photographs “revelatory without being overly graphic.” Originally published by TIME in June, 2020.

Trapped in Mexico

This investigation and multimedia project examines the Trump administration’s 'Remain in Mexico’ policy and its impacts, including the profound mental health effects on people seeking asylum in the U.S. Judges described “Trapped in Mexico” as a "staggering reporting feat" that "balances insightful data with expansive visuals and hard-hitting reporting.” Judges commented on the “unique sensitivity” of the video stories, and applauded the “slow pace of the storytelling, which mirrors the slow pace of the subjects' asylum cases.” Originally published by Univision News Digital on November 19, 2020. En Español.

Shake the Room

This episode of the Resistance podcast tells the story of a nearly six-hour standoff between Derrick Ingram and the NYPD, and explores the harrowing relationship between the police and protestors, and the impact of trauma on those fighting for racial justice and police reform. The judging panel described the piece as "brilliant and revelatory storytelling,” “at turns riveting, enraging, funny, and deeply moving.” They called it “spectacular,” and underscored the way it “depicts a kind of trauma -- menacing situations of indignity and harassment -- that far too many people of color in this country are familiar with.” Originally published by Gimlet and Spotify on October 21, 2020.

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