Reporting the Pandemic: Trauma on our own Doorstep

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

Conference: FMC Humanities and Social Science Research seminar series

Dates: 24 February 2021


The political and media rhetoric of the pandemic is that of conflict and a call to arms in face of a hidden enemy. But this is not a distant war where journalists are parachuted in to report on the action for a few weeks and then fly home. It is on our own doorstep. We expected that many of those drafted in to cover the global crisis would not be hardened conflict reporters and may have little experience in dealing with distressing stories of death, grief and mourning. That indeed proved to be the case, and we set out to find out how journalists have been coping with this everyday diet of trauma. Our paper sought to build a rich experiential picture of their ‘emotional labour’ and the impact daily coverage is having on them and their colleagues. It locates this discussion within the context of an industry that has paid relatively little heed to these issues and explores what long-term implications the coronavirus may have for the next generation of digital journalists.

Source: Manual