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Trauma Journalism

My first boss, William (Bill) Silverman, was a brilliant crisis manager and consultant. But he began his career as journalist, serving in the Korean War and later in Spain for United Press International (UPI). He was a longtime police beat reporter in Cleveland, covering violent crimes and tragedies. Recently, we reconnected, and he shared his reflections and convictions about how media bias has diminished the quality and credibility of journalism. He also discussed the impact of trauma in his life as a reporter, still having flashbacks and nightmares some 50 years later. While admitting that intrusive, insensitive questions like "How do you feel?" should not be asked of victims (sources), he challenged editors and news directors not to query their reporters and correspondents in the same manner when the subject is trauma. Rule of thumb: Think before your ask about someone's emotional state.
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