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Trauma Journalism

Emotional care for media editing and production staffs has concerned newsroom managers in recent years, related to coverage of the Haitian earthquake, the South Asian tsunami, 9/11, the terrorist videotaped executions of Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg, and other troubling footage
of war and disaster. Veteran Canadian broadcast journalist George Hoff advocates for reasonable work shifts, mandatory breaks and opportunities for debriefings and counseling, if necessary, for in-studio crews who spend extended periods exposed to second-hand traumatization. Hoff says the impact of violence on a news worker’s psyche is too often “kept in the closet,” either because of organizational policies, fears of job losses, professional insecurities, or other “chilling” effects that block employees from discussing their psychological health.

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