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Trauma Journalism

This week my colleagues (Prof. Mark Popovich, Ball State Univ. and Prof. Dennis Kinsey, Syracuse Univ.) and I presented new research on trauma journalism at the ISSSS ("Q") conference in Pittsburgh (“An Examination of Journalist Opinions Toward Covering Tragedy and Trauma.”) Abstract follows:

Researchers in this study utilized Q methodology to examine the opinions of current and former print and broadcast journalists in central Indiana and upstate New York toward the role of the news media in reporting on tragedy and trauma. A Q sample containing forty statements was developed around five categories: Adventure, Bearing Witness, Career Concerns, Societal Impact, and Professionalism. Eight statements were developed for each of the five categories, constituting the Q sort. Personal interviews and a short survey were employed to help interpret the perceptions of participating journalists concerning statements provided by war correspondents, police beat reporters, and other “trauma journalists,” who had covered crises, disasters, and stories involving fatalities. Q-sort factor scores were used to distinguish statements that differed significantly between two factors: Factor 1: Empathists and Factor 2: Objectivists.

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