The Need for Trauma Awareness in Journalism Education

Authors: Jukes, S. and Fowler-Watt, K.

Start date: 4 November 2016

Over the past 10 years, media organizations have made steady progress in safeguarding the mental wellbeing of journalists assigned to covering traumatic news stories and in offering support mechanisms. Most recently, the risk of trauma has moved into the newsroom, creating a ‘digital frontline’ as journalists sift through often distressing user-­generated images of conflict and terror. But what steps are being taken to promote trauma awareness among the thousands of students undertaking undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses designed to prepare them for a career in journalism? Informal surveys show that in the United Kingdom, trauma education in such courses is at best patchy and at worst non-­existent. Often, discussion is confined to Ethics classes or surfaces at the end of a course in dissertation proposals. This workshop aims to set out and debate the key elements of a more structured approach to building trauma awareness into the fabric of journalism education. Based on discussions with professional accreditation bodies and the Dart Centre for Journalism & Trauma,1 it will explore how a better understanding can support students as they move into journalism and lead to ethical reporting of stories ranging from conflict and terror to domestic crime and sexual abuse.

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