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.
Resources for PTSD & Mental Health, Homicide & Mass Shooting
The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies has released a briefing paper on the trauma of hate-based violence, reviewing existing research on its impacts and evaluating the mental health needs of targeted survivors and communities.
Employing the highest standards of video production, “We Are Witnesses” captures the enormity of the jail-court-prison complex, while keeping an intense focus on the individual lives affected and provoking dialogue around criminal justice reform. Judges praised its “innovative” approach to storytelling, exploring “multifaceted trauma” from “many different angles,” and “refusing cliché at every level.” The series was created by The Marshall Project in partnership with Participant Media, The New Yorker, and Condé Nast Entertainment, and ran on both The Marshall Project and The New Yorker websites.
Seventeen students and teachers were killed by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Please consult our resources in covering this tragedy and its aftermath.
This searing, intimate feature tells the story of Cheyeanne Fitzgerald, the youngest survivor of the Umpqua Community College shooting in Roseburg Oregon, as she struggles against myriad challenges in the massacre’s aftermath. Judges described “A Survivor’s Story” as an “eye-opening,” “brutally honest" portrait of the intense difficulties and complexities of trauma and recovery. Originally published in the Washington Post in December, 2015.
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.
The Fort Hood Army Base in Killeen, Texas suffered a tragic second mass shooting yesterday when a soldier killed three people and wounded 16 others before fatally turning a gun on himself. Read the Dart Center's resources on covering such tragedies.
In 2009, former news editor of the Sunday Times and the Observer Andrew Hogg spoke to journalism students at the City University in London about the treatment of torture victims. In the wake of the London High Court decision allowing three Kenyans to sue the UK government for torture they suffered during the 1950s and 60s Mau Mau revolution, we revive this illuminating speech.