An overview of current research on the occupational hazards for journalists covering traumatic events, the risk factors that aggravate those effects, and some suggestions for mitigating those factors. Originally published by River Smith and Elana Newman in January, 2009; Updated by Susan Drevo in May, 2016, and by Autumn Slaughter in March, 2019.
Resources for Self-Care & Peer Support, Featured Articles
Psychologist Anthony Feinstein examines a confluence of factors that can undermine the emotional well-being of journalists, including the emergence of new threats in Syria, the relentless nature of the conflict and those predominantly tasked with covering it. This piece was originally published in The Globe and Mail.
Among the many risks journalists face, they are often targets of harassment and aggression. While harassment is a concern for all journalists, female journalists in particular are more likely to be targets [Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 2011]. Despite increasing awareness of the issue, little is known about journalist-specific risk factors and consequences. Most recently updated in December 2017, this fact sheet summarizes key information about harassment of journalists. (Note: The topic of online harassment is not included in this review).
In his native Pakistan, investigative journalist Umar Cheema has endured kidnapping, torture, and intense criticism. Following his support of colleague Hamid Mir, who was nearly assassinated in April, Cheema reports that surveillance and harassment of him and his colleagues have markedly increased. This article was originally published by the Global Investigative Journalism Network.
In conjunction with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Dart Centre Asia Pacific presents a new teaching video dealing with the treatment of news sources, "Getting it Right: Ethical Reporting on People Affected by Trauma." The project was developed to supplement teaching materials for journalism educators. Click here for a version with Chinese subtitles.
Pakistan is consistently rated one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. A 2011 Dart Centre Asia Pacific Fellow and the director of Pakistan's first media and development sector watchdog organization, Freedom Network, weighs in on the state of the Pakistani media and a new program to address the problems.
Amantha Perera, a foreign correspondent based in Sri Lanka, describes how journalists deal with and ignore the effects of trauma. Perera was a 2011 Dart Centre Asia Pacific Fellow and a 2013 Faculty Member on the Fellowship Program in Bangkok, Thailand. This article was originally published in the Lanka Monthly Digest.
After covering Iraq, correspondent Michael Kamber felt the need to get out pictures and oral histories from colleagues that had not been seen or heard. Alan Chin, one of the photojournalists featured in the book, sat down with Kamber to discuss the making of Kamber's unique history of Iraq, Photojournalists On War.
After a devastating year covering the Middle East for NPR, Kelly McEvers unexpectedly turned the microphone on herself, as well as doctors, researchers, and fellow war correspondents. The result: a deeply personal radio documentary, "Diary of a Bad Year." McEvers will speak at a Dart sponsored forum Nov. 5.
Consejos de cuidado personal para trabajadores de medios de comunicación expuestos a eventos traumáticos
A Spanish-language version of a tip sheet on journalist self-care from Dart Centre Asia Pacific.