Clemantine Wamariya, who at age six fled the Rwandan genocide with her sister, spent seven years wandering central Africa as a refugee, eventually coming to the United States and succeeding by every conventional marker. Judges called the piece “clear-eyed,” “tremendously insightful,” and “gracefully and honestly told.” Originally published by Matter in June, 2015.
Resources for Featured Articles, PTSD & Mental Health
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.
This provocative three-part series examines the concept of moral injury, a phenomenon where combat or operational experiences transgress deeply held moral and ethical beliefs that undergird a service member’s humanity; often seen as damage to the soul. Judges praised the series for “gracefully and confidently marrying the humanity and understanding of its survivors with a gritty, powerful investigation that breaks new ground.” Originally published in the Huffington Post in March 2014.
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.
ABC Australia's News 24 Presenter/Reporter Kumi Taguchi took a break from the quick turnaround of TV news to spend two weeks at a Melbourne repatriation hospital to work on a feature story about PTSD experienced by returned soldiers, The Battle After The War. In this piece, Taguchi writes about becoming comfortable, gaining trust, and her decision to write exclusively for online.
When Patrick Howse returned to London after a seven year tour of duty in and out of Baghdad as the BBC's bureau chief, a seemingly ordinary incident on the Central Line tube took him back to the war, and triggered the onset of PTSD. It also changed his life.
(The painting image below, "PTSD Patrick," by Inge Schlaile.)
On December 6-7 2013, the Dart Center hosted a workshop for journalists to improve news coverage of immigrants and refugees, with a special focus on mental health. This workshop was sponsored by the Thomas Scattergood Foundation for Behavioral Health.
Following the landmark PTSD case in which a journalist referred to as "AZ" sought damages against Australia's The Age newspaper, Bree Knoester, one of the plaintiff's lawyers, reflects on the case, which was ultimately won by The Age. Perhaps injuries are not preventable at all," Knoester writes. "What is clear, particularly through the work of Dart, is that there are systems that can be put in place by media organisations."
This article first appeared, in a longer version, in Precedent, the journal of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, issue 117, published in August 2013 (Sydney, Australia, ISSN 1449-7719), pp 40-44. It has been reproduced with the kind permission of the author and the ALA.