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
The Dart Center offers an intensive four-day crisis reporting course to prepare journalists to think critically about how to work safely and effectively in volatile situations such as war, conflict and disaster zones, with an emphasis on risk assessment and harm prevention.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe kicked off its conference in Vienna today on journalist safety, media freedom and pluralism in times of conflict. Dunja Mijatović, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, delivered opening remarks.
A cyclone ravaged the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu early on Saturday, killing at least 24 people and displacing upwards of 3,000, according to the United Nations. In the aftermath, we share resources for reporters on covering disaster, interviewing victims and survivors, and working with reporters exposed to traumatic events.
Last week, the York (Pa.) Daily Record/Sunday News and Digital First Media formally began building a peer-support program for journalists who cover trauma and conflict. At a kickoff seminar event, fifteen journalists from 11 Pennsylvania news organizations spent a day at the Daily Record learning about trauma, resilience and peer-support.
In a recent interview with ABC Back Story, Peter Drought discussed the emotional impact of covering the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires, and shared advice on working safely and coping with trauma.
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.