Article

Mexican journalists and journalists covering war: A comparison of psychological wellbeing

Authors:
Article

Mexican journalists and journalists covering war: A comparison of psychological wellbeing

If you want to read the PDF, try requesting it from the authors.

Abstract

Purpose ‐ War journalists confront many dangers, leaving them at risk for mental health problems. They are, however, able to take breaks from the hazards of frontline work by periodically leaving conflict zones for the safety of home. This respite is not afforded local journalists who cover conflict situations. An example of this may be found in Mexico where journalists reporting on the drug cartels may under threat. This inability to seek temporary respite from grave danger may theoretically increase levels of psychological distress. The purpose of this paper is to examine this possibility. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The study sample comprised 104 Mexican journalists and a control group of 104 war journalists (non-Mexican, demographically matched). Outcome measures included indices of posttraumatic stress disorder (Impact of Event Scale-Revised)(IES-R), depression (Beck Depression Inventory-Revised (BDI-II) and psychological distress (General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28). Findings ‐ Mexican journalists had higher scores on the avoidance (p=0.01), arousal (p=0.0001), but not intrusion (p=0.29) scales of the IES-R. They had higher scores on the BDI-II (p=0.0001) and anxiety (p=0.0001), somatic (p=0.0001) and social dysfunction (p=0.01) subscales of the GHQ-28. Practical implications ‐ Mexican journalists targeted by drug cartels have more psychopathology than journalists who cover war. News organisations that employ journalists in this line of work therefore need to be aware of this and have a mechanism in place to provide treatment, when needed. Originality/value ‐ This is the first study to directly explore the psychological effects of violence on local journalists who do not cover war, but nevertheless live and work in areas of grave danger.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... It is interesting to note that participants who had never been threatened scored higher than those who were threatened but continued to report, on the avoidance subscale only. Feinstein (2013) utilised both the English and Spanish versions of the IES-R and found that Mexican journalists scored significantly higher on each of the three subscales than war journalists. Feinstein and Nicolson (2005) found no significant differences between the mean scores for the embedded and unilateral war journalists on the three IES-R subscales. ...
... Newman et al. (2003) assessed the predictive ability of a number of variables on PTSD symptomology; however, ethnicity was not found to be a significant predictor. Feinstein (2013) found education to be a significant predictor of intrusion symptoms, and McMahon (2001) reported that older age is associated with increased severity of symptoms of intrusiveness and avoidance. In relation to gender, there are conflicting findings. ...
... In relation to gender, there are conflicting findings. Newman et al. (2003) found that gender was not a significant predictor of PTSD symptoms, whereas Feinstein (2013) reported that it was. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
News frequently requires footage of stories relating to fatal car accidents, crime, murder, suicide, natural disasters, and various other forms of violence and tragedy within society. Camera operators are exposed first-hand to the emotional and visceral experience of filming individuals and communities in times of adversity and disaster. Despite this, there are currently no empirical studies focusing on camera operators’ psychological well-being or trauma exposure. This thesis details research considering what it is like to cover potentially traumatic events (PTEs) as a television (TV) news camera operator, and the psychological implications of this work. The research was implemented according to a sequential between-strategies mixed-methods design and the findings are reported in three phases (Phases A–C). Phase A consisted of a series of systematic literature reviews (SLRs) relating to the psychological implications of journalistic work. The findings confirmed that camera operators have been grouped with other journalistic roles in previous research, but have not been researched individually. Research with general journalist samples indicates that journalists, particularly reporters, experience elevated levels of trauma exposure and reactions. For Phase B, in-depth interviews were conducted with 21 TV news camera operators and reporters. Social constructivist and interpretivist theory informed the study, and the data was analysed according to a thematic analysis method. This study provided three critical insights regarding the experiences of trauma exposure of camera operators. First, camera operators experience what is referred to in the present study as the viewfinder effect, a seemingly unconscious perceptual mechanism serving to separate them from what they are filming, ultimately reducing their psychological distress. Second, there is a hierarchy within TV news organisations that has important implications for the social dynamics of news workers and the psychological well-being of camera operators. Finally, there are important differences between roles in terms of social visibility, which have both physical and psychological risk implications. Phase C involved the use of an online quantitative questionnaire sampling both camera operators and other TV news workers (n = 134). The questionnaire included measures assessing demographics, professional and personal trauma exposure, and trauma reactions. The findings suggest that a high proportion of professionals currently working in the TV news industry could exceed clinical cut-offs for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Camera operators are not only exposed to as many PTEs as other news workers, they also experience elevated levels of psychological distress equivalent to that of other news workers. The findings of this thesis serve to raise the status of the psychological implications of journalistic work for TV news camera operators. Previous trauma exposure and reactions research in journalist samples posits that reporters are an at-risk population and worthy of increased industry support and further research. Therefore, the finding that camera operators and other TV news workers have comparable levels of trauma exposure and trauma reactions makes camera operators a noteworthy population by association. Hence, camera operators are equally as deserving of acknowledgement in terms of the potential psychological risks and implications of their work, as well as the accompanying support and research interest.
... A systematic literature review of trauma exposure found that journalists experience work-related trauma prevalence rates as high as 95% and personal trauma exposure rates of 38-90% . Elevated levels of trauma exposure for journalist have been associated with increased levels of depression (Backholm & Bj€ orkqvist, 2012a;Feinstein, 2013;. Similarly, prevalence rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms amongst journalist samples range from 4.3-19.7% ...
... Significant role differences have been identified in levels of burnout amongst newspaper journalists (Cook et al., 1993;Cook & Banks, 1993;Jung & Kim, 2012;Reinardy, 2011). Alcohol consumption levels, depression symptoms, and PTSD symptoms have all been found to be greater in war journalists than domestic journalists (Feinstein, 2013;. In the context of overseas combat coverage, journalists who are not associated with military units (unilateral journalists) are significantly more likely to be smokers than those who are (embedded journalists; Feinstein & Nicolson, 2005). ...
Article
Research indicates that TV news journalists’ ongoing exposure to trauma can result in psychopathology. However, we currently know little about potential differences in trauma exposure between individuals in varying journalistic roles. The aim of this study is to contextualize the existing knowledge of psychological outcomes for TV news journalists and to complement current deductive trends in literature by asking: How do TV news journalists of differing roles and responsibilities experience unique factors that ultimately influence their trauma exposure? Individuals in journalistic roles that experience differences in their exposure to trauma compared to other roles, may be at risk of elevated psychopathology or in need of greater support to prevent distress. A social constructivist approach was adopted and in-depth interviews were conducted with 21 Australian TV news camera-operators and reporters. Analysis was conducted according to a systematic and transparent thematic analysis. The findings suggest that TV news camera operators and reporters experience differences in: (1) experiences of industry culture within organizational hierarchy, (2) role expectations of physical proximity to trauma, and (3) social visibility during trauma exposure. By considering role-based differences, this study recommends resources and support necessary for reporters and camera operators. The present findings inform news organizations providing support for their staff, and news consumers of the circumstances under which news workers perform roles. Limited number of free copies available via: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/QJGJTZAWBFA2GEJE8BF2/full?target=10.1080/10720537.2020.1809579
... Further, high intensity assignments may increase risk for PTSD symptoms development. In particular, exposure to war, drug-related conflict, and other high-intensity assignments are associated with greater PTSD symptoms severity among journalists (Backholm & Björkqvist, 2010;Dworznik, 2011;Feinstein, 2013;Feinstein et al., 2002;Morales, 2012Morales, , 2014Pyevich et al., 2003). Although factors such as age, gender, and years of experience have been examined among journalists, the results remain mixed (Backholm & Björkqvist, 2012b;Feinstein, 2013;McMahon, 2001;Simpson & Boggs, 1999;Sinyor & Feinstein, 2012;Teegen & Grotwinkel, 2001). ...
... In particular, exposure to war, drug-related conflict, and other high-intensity assignments are associated with greater PTSD symptoms severity among journalists (Backholm & Björkqvist, 2010;Dworznik, 2011;Feinstein, 2013;Feinstein et al., 2002;Morales, 2012Morales, , 2014Pyevich et al., 2003). Although factors such as age, gender, and years of experience have been examined among journalists, the results remain mixed (Backholm & Björkqvist, 2012b;Feinstein, 2013;McMahon, 2001;Simpson & Boggs, 1999;Sinyor & Feinstein, 2012;Teegen & Grotwinkel, 2001). To date, the only empirical study published (Beam & Spratt, 2009) in this area demonstrates a positive correlation between job satisfaction and perceptions that management would be supportive of trauma-related occupational distress but does not directly measure PTSD or distress. ...
Article
The current study examined personal and environmental factors that placed 167 U.S. journalists from diverse media organizations at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after covering work-related traumatic stories. These factors included exposure to traumatic stressors in their personal lives, work-related traumatic stressors, and general organizational stressors. Further, personality attributes and coping styles associated with risk and resiliency were examined. Regression analyses identified avoidant emotional coping, higher levels of perceived organizational stressors, intensity of exposure to work-related traumatic stressors, and personal trauma history as statistically significant risk factors for PTSD. The results provide empirical support for the negative impact of organizational stressors and avoidant emotional coping on journalists covering trauma-related stories. Understanding the organizational climate journalists are working in, as well as the manner in which journalists manage work-related stressors, is important in the development of a more comprehensive model of who may develop work-related PTSD symptoms. Opportunities for news organizations to reduce PTSD risk among journalists are discussed.
... These include the extent of exposure to traumatic events, coverage frequency, and intensity (Feinstein et al., 2014;Hatanaka et al., 2010;Lee et al., 2018;Marais and Stuart, 2005;Newman et al., 2003;Seely, 2019), organizational stressors (Dworznik-Hoak, 2019;Monteiro et al., 2016), and the content of coverage (Hatanaka et al., 2010;Newman et al., 2003;Pyevich et al., 2003;Simpson and Boggs, 1999). Journalists covering war have been reported to have a high prevalence of PTSD symptoms compared to journalists covering other beats (Dworznik, 2011;Feinstein, 2013;Feinstein et al., 2002Feinstein et al., , 2014. Journalists covering the drug war in Mexico, for example, have specifically shown higher levels of prevalence of PTSD symptoms compared to journalists working in the Western countries (Morales et al., , 2014. ...
... Our sample is different than previous research in some ways. Past studies on trauma among journalists have distinguished between journalists who covered wars, and those who covered other topics (Feinstein, 2013;Feinstein et al., 2002Feinstein et al., , 2014Feinstein et al., , 2016Hatanaka et al., 2010;Newman et al., 2003;Pyevich et al., 2003;Smith et al., 2018). These studies ignored the group of journalists who reported on regular issues from a conflict-hit or conflict-prone area such as the group of journalists in our study. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study sought to examine work-related exposure to trauma and predictors of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms among regional journalists in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, a conflict-ridden area in northwest Pakistan. We recruited 216 KP journalists. Analysis of the surveys revealed a high prevalence of trauma exposure and PTSD symptoms. All of the participants had covered at least one trauma inducing event. Exposure to work-related trauma, active emotional coping and avoidant emotional coping were statistically significant factors associated with PTSD symptoms. This study is the first to highlight the severity of the impact of trauma on regional journalists in Pakistan.
... The fact that the preponderance of research on journalists' emotions comes from trauma studies, psychiatry, psychology, and from non-government organizations protecting journalists, speaks for itself. Previous research (primarily) in these fields has provided evidence that journalists-especially those who cover war zones, trauma events, disasters, accident scenes, homicides (particularly child deaths), or those who work at the digital frontline with user-generated content-are at risk for developing various short-and long-term mental health and psychosomatic problems such as anxiety, panic attacks, headaches, insomnia and early-waking syndrome, "vicarious trauma," alcoholism and substance abuse, PTSD, depression, and burnout (Aoki et al., 2012;Buchanan & Keats, 2011;Dubberley et al., 2015;Feinstein, 2012;Feinstein et al., 2015;Hight & Smyth, 2003;Høiby & Ottosen, 2015;Reinardy, 2011;Richards & Rees, 2011;Sambrook, 2016). ...
... Furthermore, there are extra-organizational factors that influence journalists' emotional and mental well-being such as public debate and criticism related to journalistic work and ethics (Kotisova, 2017a;Backholm, 2017). Some of the factors have rather surprising effects: for example, Anthony Feinstein (2012), studying Mexican journalists, found that those who had faced intimidation and stopped covering crisis (drug-related) stories had more symptoms of PTSD and depression than those who continued working under threat or, less surprisingly, those who had never been threatened. Importantly, the research on these factors implies that journalists' emotional well-being and potential mental health problems are clearly work-related. ...
Article
Full-text available
The article seeks to review current work on the obvious but complex entanglement of journalism and emotion. The field has been under‐theorized and under‐researched; however, in recent years, the body of studies that attempt to grasp the relationship between journalism, journalists, media content, and emotion is growing. The paper roughly systematizes the literature on journalism and emotion based on the Goffmanian distinction between front region and back region; that is, I consider both research on emotionality of the public outcomes of journalists' work marked by journalists' professional ideology and less visible journalists' emotional labour that is behind media content. Based on the review of the body of research and on a sociological conceptualization of emotions, I identify several blind spots. Most importantly, what is still largely missing from the emergent work is research that complies with the social character of journalists' emotions: acknowledges emotions as a force central to the contemporary networked, dynamic and increasingly precarious journalism work, and conceptualizes emotions in journalism as a sociologically relevant phenomenon articulated by the context including newswork, technologies, and media organizations.
... Anthony Feinstein y sus colegas realizaron el primer estudio sobre los efectos de la guerra unda-endemaño, a., iturregui-mardaras, l., & cantalapiedra-gonzález, m. j. La tribu sin suerte en el bienestar psicológico de los periodistas que desvelaba que, si bien en el ámbito militar existe una gran tradición en la formación para lidiar con la violencia, en el caso de los profesionales de los medios la situación es completamente distinta, aunque se estén produciendo algunos avances, y apuntan a una "cultura del silencio por parte de los jefes de prensa y de los propios periodistas" (Feinstein et al., p. 1574;Feinstein, 2013;Feinstein & Starr, 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
El artículo ahonda en las principales transformaciones que el periodismo de conflicto ha vivido en el último siglo y medio y trata de identificar los retos a los que se enfrenta en la actualidad. Para ello, además de una amplia revisión bibliográfica a trabajos académicos, biografías o libros publicados por periodistas, se han realizado 24 entrevistas en profundidad a profesionales con experiencia en la cobertura de conflictos, responsables de la sección internacional de varios diarios españoles, y a militares con experiencia en gestión de información pública en operaciones y en formación en materia de seguridad para periodistas. Entre las conclusiones destacan, por un lado, el impacto que la cobertura de conflictos ha logrado más allá de los medios y el rol de la tecnología como elemento transformador de los perfiles y la práctica profesional. Todo esto, en un contexto de aumento de la peligrosidad de la profesión y de la precarización del periodismo, también en zonas de conflicto, dejando atrás el mito del corresponsal de guerra y planteando nuevos retos, como el abordaje de la cuestión de la seguridad, la inclusión de la perspectiva de género en este ámbito o el fin del tabú que constituye el síndrome del estrés postraumático.
... Some studies analysed the way through which journalists cope with stress, in particular journalists who witness trauma and disaster events (Feinstein, 2004) but the ways journalists view themselves and their work has been an interest for a number of mass communication researchers (for example Weaver and Wilhoit, 1996;Wilnat and Weaver, 2003;Tsfati, 2004;Feinstein, 2013). Such research examined for example journalists' sense of accomplishment, job satisfaction, job autonomy, psychological wellbeing and workaholism (Barrett, 1984;Burke and Matthiensen, 2004b;Weaver et al., 2007;Deprez and Raeymaeckers, 2012;Wilnat, Weaver and Choi, 2013). ...
Article
Flow is an inner experience produced by the participation in an activity in which people are immersed and enjoy it (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). According to the Job Demands-Resources Model (Bakker and Demerouti, 2014), flow at work (FaW) occurs when job demands meet professional skills and when they are balanced by resources (Csikszentmihalyi, 2003). This study aimed to detect the relation between job resources (supervisors’ support, job autonomy), personal resources (optimism, internal locus of control) and job demands (workload, emotional dissonance) on FaW, in a sample of Italian journalists, considering differences between permanent and freelance. Participants are 260 journalists (118 permanent, 142 freelance) that filled out a self-report questionnaire. Data analysis (SPSS22) involved: descriptive statistics, Alpha reliabilities; correlations (Pearson’s r); t-test for independent samples; multiple regression. Results show differences between journalists: in permanent journalists FaW is influenced only by both job resources, in freelance journalists FaW is influenced by internal locus of control, job autonomy and workload. These results suggest a possible challenges-skills balance and a moderating effect of autonomy between workload and flow at work, to verify in the future. This study shows the importance to detect and to promote FaW in the same professional group, considering different types of task and employment contract. Promoting a positive organizational culture and FaW experiences is functional to prevent the risk of exhaustion, to improve performance and to protect the employees’ health and quality of working life.
... Emerging research from Mexico extends this research and finds that the psychological effects of covering prolonged violence can be severe. Mexican journalists who have been directly threatened, work on more newsbeats that cover traumatic events such as mass killings, or work in riskier parts of the country show more signs of psychopathology-depression symptoms, social dysfunction, and anxiety-than their Mexican colleagues who do not work under such conditions, and, in some cases, they exhibit these signs more than war correspondents do (Feinstein 2012(Feinstein , 2013Flores Morales, Réyez Pérez & Reidl Martínez, 2012. ...
Article
Full-text available
Research on journalists working in contexts of risk has examined either war correspondents on temporary assignments or the psychological effects of covering traumatic events, usually after the events have ended. Although these studies are important, they fail to account for the growing importance of ongoing violence in insecure democracies and its possible consequences for national journalistic practice. We address these issues by examining journalists' risk-reduction practices in Mexico, including self-censorship, following company censorship policies, curtailing street reporting, and concealing sensitive information. Using logistic regressions, we tested occupational, organizational, normative, and contextual conditions as predictors of engagement in these practices. Findings reveal the pervasiveness of risk-reduction practices in Mexico and the complexity of conditions prompting their use, including conditions related to antipress violence, dangerous newsbeats, and the economic insecurity of media firms but also voicing greater support for assertive professional norms. The research sets a baseline for future comparative research that includes greater attention to subnational conditions, dangerous newsbeats, and how violence and uneven state capacity may undermine the economic conditions of media firms.
... Emerging research from Mexico extends this research and finds that the psychological effects of covering prolonged violence can be severe. Mexican journalists who have been directly threatened, work on more newsbeats that cover traumatic events such as mass killings, or work in riskier parts of the country show more signs of psychopathology-depression symptoms, social dysfunction, and anxiety-than their Mexican colleagues who do not work under such conditions, and, in some cases, they exhibit these signs more than war correspondents do (Feinstein 2012(Feinstein , 2013Flores Morales, Réyez Pérez & Reidl Martínez, 2012. ...
Article
Full-text available
Research on journalists working in contexts of risk has examined either war correspondents on temporary assignments or the psychological effects of covering traumatic events, usually after the events have ended. Although these studies are important, they fail to account for the growing importance of ongoing violence in insecure democracies and its possible consequences for national journalistic practice. We address these issues by examining journalists' risk-reduction practices in Mexico, including self-censorship, following company censorship policies, curtailing street reporting, and concealing sensitive information. Using logistic regressions, we tested occupational, organizational, normative, and contextual conditions as predictors of engagement in these practices. Findings reveal the pervasiveness of risk-reduction practices in Mexico and the complexity of conditions prompting their use, including conditions related to antipress violence, dangerous newsbeats, and the economic insecurity of media firms but also voicing greater support for assertive professional norms. The research sets a baseline for future comparative research that includes greater attention to subnational conditions, dangerous newsbeats, and how violence and uneven state capacity may undermine the economic conditions of media firms.
... Prevalence rates of PTSD amongst journalist samples range from 4.3 to 19.7% (Backholm & Björkqvist, 2012;Dworznik, 2011;Hatanaka et al., 2010;Newman, Simpson, & Handschuh, 2003;Pyevich, Newman, & Daleiden, 2003;Weidmann, Fehm, & Fydrich, 2008). Other psychological implications associated with journalistic work include increased levels of depression symptoms (Feinstein, 2013;Feinstein, Owen, & Blair, 2002), altered world assumptions (Pyevich et al., 2003), increased levels of burnout (MacDonald, Saliba, Hodgins, & Ovington, 2016), and substance use . ...
Conference Paper
Background: Past research indicates that TV news journalists’ ongoing exposure to trauma can result in psychopathology. However, currently we know little about potential differences in trauma exposure between journalistic roles, such as camera-operator and reporter. Similarly, previous research has not considered whether trauma exposure and reactions differ depending on whether news workers are working individually or within a crew. Such knowledge would elucidate what resources and support are necessary, as well as how to best implement these to meet the needs of specific news crewmembers. Aims: The aims of the research were to: 1) explore role differences in trauma exposure amongst camera-operators and reporters, and 2) consider the importance and functional role of relationships amongst crewmembers. Method: In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 TV news camera-operators and reporters. Data analysis was conducted according to a systematic and transparent thematic analysis. Results: There are considerable differences in the experiences of trauma exposure between camera-operators and reporters. There is also a range of organisational differences experienced based on one’s journalistic role, which serve as potential points of conflict within the crew. However, both camera-operators and reporters emphasise the importance of the relationship amongst crewmembers in times of trauma exposure, as opposed to their own individual experiences. The capacity to work with other crew simultaneously reduces physical and psychological risks and improves the quality of the journalistic product. Conclusions: Crew solidarity functions as a protective factor for news crewmembers exposed to trauma and other work-related stressors, despite potential interpersonal conflicts based on role differences. Through realising the benefits of crew relationships and employing readily available social capital, the workplace can be part of the resilience building process. The findings are used to suggest means by which news organisations can foster crew relationships that are healthy, productive, and that enhance recovery.
... The research was based on the idea that war journalists cover conflict for an intense but limited period of time, whereas local journalists covering conflict, such as Mexican journalists covering drug cartels, cannot take a break from their work or the potential danger of it. Feinstein (2013) reported that all war journalists sampled had been threatened due to their work, whereas 38.5% of the Mexican journalists sampled had been threatened. However, 10.6% of Mexican journalists had their family threatened, whereas this was not something experienced by any of the war journalists. ...
Article
Full-text available
Journalists frequently cover stories relating to fatal car accidents, crime, murder, suicide, natural disasters, and various other forms of violence and tragedy within society. The present systematic literature review aims to provide a concise, comprehensive, and systematic review of the quantitative literature relating to journalists’ exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs). Such a review has not been conducted in this area before. The systematic review method adopted is that prescribed by Fink (2010), which contains three main elements: Sampling the literature, screening the literature, and extracting data. The range of PTEs journalists are exposed to are elucidated and discussed. This includes consideration of both work-related and personal exposure to trauma. The findings are beneficial to academics and professionals, in both psychology and journalism. Understanding the kinds of PTEs journalists are exposed to is the first step in developing procedures and support structures to safeguard individuals against adverse trauma reactions. Such findings can also be used to inform practice and policy within international journalism settings. This review raises a number of methodological and theoretical issues to be explored and addressed in future research. This study was developed from within the framework of psychological theory and research regarding journalists’ trauma exposure. Therefore, this article is structured according to psychological standards for research reports.
... Journal of Management and Sustainability Vol. 7, No. 4; 2017 with people. This effect is characterised by emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and reduced accomplishment at a personal level ( Al-Homayan, Shamsudin, Subramaniam, & Islam, 2013;Feinstein, 2013). Job demands are frequently responsible for instigating job stress in personnel, whereas job resources are attributed to decreasing the effect of job demands in causing job stress amongst other contributing effects ( Fernandez-Lopez et al., 2006). ...
Article
Full-text available
This study aims to analyse the impact of job demands and job resources on job stress among journalists in Jordan. In addition, the moderation effect of organisational support on such relationship is assessed in this research. A questionnaire survey was conducted among journalists working in daily newspapers in Jordan. This study used multiple and hierarchical regression analyses and determined a significant and positive relationship amongst emotional demands, job insecurity, and task significance on job stress. Additionally, organisational support moderated the relationship between task significance and job stress. Results of study revealed that the organisational support moderates the relationship between task significance and job stress. This finding could challenge journalists, newspaper managements and decision-makers in Jordan. When journalists work on sensitive topics and are in conflict areas, they are in need of additional support from newspaper managements to mitigate high job stress and motivate them to produce quality work.
... Prevalence rates of PTSD amongst journalist samples range from 4.3 to 19.7% (Backholm & Björkqvist, 2012;Dworznik, 2011;Hatanaka et al., 2010;Newman, Simpson, & Handschuh, 2003;Pyevich, Newman, & Daleiden, 2003;Weidmann, Fehm, & Fydrich, 2008). Other psychological implications associated with journalistic work include increased levels of depression symptoms (Feinstein, 2013;Feinstein, Owen, & Blair, 2002), altered world assumptions (Pyevich et al., 2003), increased levels of burnout (MacDonald, Saliba, Hodgins, & Ovington, 2016), and substance use . ...
Chapter
Past research indicates that journalists’ ongoing exposure to trauma can result in psychopathology. However, previous research has not considered whether trauma exposure and reactions differ depending on whether news workers are working individually or within a crew. The research question was as follows: What functional roles do crew relationships play in enhancing individual resilience? In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 TV news camera operators and reporters. The findings indicate that news workers emphasise the importance of the relationship amongst crewmembers in times of trauma exposure, as opposed to their own individual experiences. Working with other crewmembers simultaneously reduces physical and psychological risks and improves the quality of the journalistic product. Additionally, experienced news workers serve a vital mentoring function and also act to shield less experienced news workers from potentially stressful situations. Crew solidarity functions as a protective factor for news crewmembers exposed to trauma and other work-related stressors.
... Further, 26% endorsed symptoms reflective of moderate to extremely severe levels of depression, with an average depression score corresponding to the 93rd percentile (Henry and Crawford 2005). Investigations with journalists have detected similar rates, ranging from 1 to 21% (Feinstein 2013;Feinstein, Audet, and Waknine 2014). Endorsing symptoms of depression was comorbid with higher endorsement of PTSD symptomatology, a finding supported by research with journalists (Feinstein and Nicolson 2005) and the general population (Breslau 2009). ...
Article
Full-text available
Journalists are often exposed to potentially traumatic content through their profession. High levels of exposure have been found to predict high levels of psychopathology among journalists, including posttraumatic stress, alcohol use, and depressive symptoms. Predictors of such outcomes have not been extensively investigated. The current study assessed the roles of world views, institutional betrayal, and work-related trauma exposure on symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol use, and depression. One hundred and fifteen journalists completed the online study and a portion subsequently completed a phone clinical interview. Greater exposure to work-related trauma was positively correlated with PTSD. Regression analyzes revealed that experiences of institutional betrayal moderated the relationship between shattered world assumptions and PTSD and alcohol use, but not depression. Specifically, among individuals who reported greater institutional betrayal, the relationship between benevolence of the world and PTSD and alcohol use was stronger. Results highlight the role of organizational factors in exacerbating symptoms of pathology. Implications include conducting research on micro- and macro-level factors that contribute to pathology in this group. Recommendations include destigmatizing disclosure of psychological needs to editors and news agencies, introducing more trainings for journalists and editorial staff focused on trauma, mental health, and how to improve and maintain psychological well-being.
... Finally, media professionals rarely appear as frontline workers in the literature except when in conflicts and war periods (e.g., [36]). In those cases, it has been largely reported that conflict journalists suffer more from psychological distress than local journalists (e.g., [37])-they end up "depleted and broken, their personal lives often in shambles, their sleep plagued by images of death" [38], (p. 9). ...
Article
Full-text available
YOU CAN FIND FULL TEXT HERE (OPEN ACCESS): https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/21/8149 This study evaluates the psychological impact (PI) of the COVID-19 pandemic in frontline workers in Spain. Participants were 546 workers (296 healthcare workers, 105 media professionals, 89 grocery workers and 83 protective service workers). They all completed online questionnaires assessing PI, sadness, concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and demographic and work-related variables. All the groups, but protective services workers, showed higher PI than the general population. Healthcare and grocery workers were the most affected, with 73.6% and 65.2% of the participants respectively showing severe PI. Women showed higher PI. Healthcare workers in the regions with higher COVID-19 incidence reported greater PI. The main concerns were being infected by COVID-19 or infecting others. Levels of concern correlated with higher PI. The protection equipment was generally reported as insufficient, which correlated with higher PI. Professionals reporting to overwork during the crisis (60% mass-media, 38% of healthcare and grocery and 21.7% of protective service) showed higher PI. In the healthcare group, taking care of patients with COVID-19 (77%) or of dying patients with COVID-19 (43.9%) was associated to higher PI. Perceived social recognition of their work was inversely related to PI. Most of the sample had not received psychological support. We suggest some organizational measures for frontline institutions, such as periodical monitoring or inclusion of psychologists specialized in crisis-management to prevent negative symptoms and provide timely support.
... Malgré tout, très peu d'études distinguent la détresse des journalistes dans leur travail quotidien de celle liée à la couverture d'événements majeurs (Monteiro et al., 2016). En fait, on accorde toujours un intérêt plus important aux journalistes travaillant en zones hostiles (Hicks, 2018a (Feinstein, 2013). Puis, en collaboration avec d'autres collègues, il étudie les effets psychologiques de la couverture de la violence extrême chez les reporters kényans (Feinstein et al., 2015). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Ce mémoire vise à amener une réflexion globale concernant l’impact des événements traumatiques de proximité sur ceux qui en sont souvent les premiers témoins : les journalistes. L’objectif est de mieux comprendre la perception des troubles psychologiques dans le milieu journalistique, de définir les facteurs influençant la gestion émotionnelle inhérente à une couverture perturbante de proximité et de déterminer si certains événements sont plus déstabilisants que d’autres, pour ensuite émettre des recommandations. Pour ce faire, nous avons réalisé des entrevues semi-dirigées avec 15 professionnels travaillant pour une agence de presse ou un média national québécois, belge ou français, qui ont couvert au moins un événement parmi les suivants : les attentats au Métropolis (2012), les attentats de Charlie Hebdo (2015), les attentats de Paris (2015), les attentats de Bruxelles (2016) et les attentats à la grande mosquée de Québec (2017). Nous avons également rencontré quatre spécialistes en journalisme et en médecine du travail, ce qui nous a permis de corroborer les données récoltées et d’approfondir nos connaissances théoriques. Nos résultats confirment que plusieurs facteurs influencent la gestion émotionnelle des journalistes suivant la couverture d’un événement déstabilisant, dont la perception des troubles de santé mentale, la vision de leur rôle professionnel, la place des émotions, le contexte de réception et la proximité avec le sujet. Les témoignages recueillis varient principalement selon le territoire, le genre et la fonction. Nos résultats ne nous permettent pas de conclure que des événements provoqués volontairement sont plus perturbants que des accidents, mais nul doute qu’ils comportent une portée traumatique singulière.
... Unattended occupational stress may harm journalists' well-being and professional performance. Research has focused primarily on post-traumatic stress disorder among journalists (Dworznik-Hoak 2020;Feinstein 2013;Feinstein, Audet, andWaknine 2014, 2018;Martínez 2012, 2014;Seely 2019;Smith, Drevo, and Newman 2018) and, to a lesser degree, moral injury (Drevo 2018). The literature on occupational stress describes physical symptoms, such as fatigue, tension, headaches, sleeplessness, dermatological disorders, and psychological and emotional symptoms such as depression, anxiety, despondency, irritability, and pessimism. ...
Article
Valuable work describing occupational stress in journalism has been published over the last two decades. However, the experience of coping and how local context influences coping and support are less-often the central focus of inquiry. This study addresses this gap using qualitative responses from journalists working in the Mexican areas of Tamaulipas, Puebla, and Mexico City. Using a comparative case design to capture key differences in local conditions, this exploratory study reveals generalizable and context-contingent occupational stress, coping, and support experiences. The study found journalists in each context suffered from occupational stress and found strength in professional identities expressed as gratifications from work, commitments to public service norms, and solidarity among colleagues. In addition, the study found that the local configuration of state, civil society, and criminal actors shaped whether participants engaged in collective action to demand state protection as another form of coping. These findings articulate disconnected observations on camaraderie and values from other qualitative studies of stress in journalism, emphasizing that professional identity and advocacy are sources of strength that should be supported. The study additionally contributes to the literature on journalists’ safety by clarifying the concepts of risk, occupational stress, and coping for journalists.
... A number of studies have been produced recently on diverse aspects of violence against journalists and impunity in Mexico; this is not the case for Honduras, where the issue has received little scholarly attention, though some grey literature exists. A recent strain of literature focuses on the limitations that violence places on Mexican journalists and HRDs, for example psychological impact (Müller and Correa, 2017, Nah et al., 2017, Morales et al., 2016, Flores Morales et al., 2014, Feinstein, 2013, Feinstein, 2012, Flores Morales et al., 2012, perception of influences on journalism (Hughes et al., 2017b, Relly andGonzález de Bustamante, 2013) and self-censorship (Gonzalez, 2020;Harrison and Pukallus, 2018;Hughes and Márquez-Ramírez, 2017). Hughes and Márquez-Ramírez (2017) usefully examine the prevalence of risk-reduction practices among Mexican journalists. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
This dissertation offers a qualitative, comparative, bottom-up exploration of journalists’ responses to impunity for violence against journalists in two Latin American countries where this problem is particularly egregious, Mexico and Honduras. It provides a critique of IR/politics debates on the value of international human rights (IHR) law/norms to local civil society groups and actors. Drawing on scholarship on civil society and coping strategies in violent/repressive contexts, it asks what people do when state and international protection and the domestic civil society “enforcement mechanism” for IHR standards fail. Via thematic analysis of 67 interviews with journalists and protection actors, I show that journalists used several interlinked strategies to seek justice and protection: domestic and international (engaging with the state via intermediaries – “protection approaches”), and activist and professional (“self-protection approaches”). Journalists rarely mobilised around IHR standards or legal rights, instead depending on (I)NGOs. While protection approaches were necessary and valued, they were usually insufficient to achieve security and justice: context-dependent and limited – particularly in terms of addressing impunity – and frequently risky for journalists. Hence, journalists often supplemented/replaced protection with self-protection approaches. But certain self-protection practices could actually undermine journalists’ security, as well as journalism itself and public perceptions of the profession, including some grassroots forms of activism, self-censorship and co-optation. Consequently, some journalists were developing broader self-protection strategies to transform the profession and practice of journalism. These strategies went beyond immediate physical security, combining protection and professionalisation to improve journalists’ work as well as continue it more safely, and building their credibility and public support. This indicates the significance of the norms of professional journalism over IHR norms in this case. Although no substitute for effective state protection, such professional strategies were a crucial complement, with potential to make important contributions to societal pressure for justice and state protection.
Chapter
Journalists have become one of the most vulnerable targets of criminal organizations and state violence in Mexico’s War on Drugs. Considering Laura Ahva’s concept of “professional reflexivity” to discuss journalists’ professional practices, I propose that the contemporary chronicle, or crónica, has incorporated risk and vulnerability within a larger reflection of journalists’ professional identity. This exercise of reflexivity in the chronicles of Javier Valdez, Vanessa Job, and John Gibler addresses two main concerns: journalists and online activists’ vulnerability due to the lack of state protection and ethical dilemmas about how to respond effectively to the coverage of the War on Drugs. Criminal and state violence against both groups evidence that the War on Drugs in these chronicles also manifests in the struggle for information.
Article
Full-text available
Across the globe, governments have issued emergency and drastic measures aimed at tracking the spread of COVID-19 and safeguarding public health. Notwithstanding the necessity and importance of some of these measures, this work argues that numerous governments around the world used the pandemic crisis as a pretext to push through restrictions that hamper critical journalism. Drawing from worldwide press freedom monitoring tools and platforms established by various credible global organizations, this study shows that the pandemic crisis exacerbates existing obstacles to press freedom and adds new dimensions to the already documented threats. This is evident not only in authoritarian states, but also in western democracies. Most of the threats documented specifically aim to silence digital journalism, which has gained significant momentum as a result of the pandemic crisis. Overall, the main target of this work is to offer an enriched conceptual approach to the types of threats that press freedom faces in the context of global crisis situations.
Article
Background: Journalists' exposure to PTEs, high levels of job stress, and anecdotal reports within the industry seem to suggest that journalists are at greater risk than the general population to experience substance use disorders. The present systematic literature review (SLR) aims to provide a concise, comprehensive, and systematic review of the quantitative literature relating to journalists' experience of substance use. Methods: The systematic review method adopted within the present study was based on that prescribed by Fink, (1) which contains three main elements: sampling the literature, screening the literature, and extracting data. Results: Alcohol consumption is the most widely studied substance in journalist samples and is discussed in relation to quantity, level of risk, and potential alcoholism. The review also considers journalists use of substances including cigarettes, cannabis, and other illicit substances. In particular, comparisons are made between journalistic roles and gender. Conclusions: The research is piecemeal in nature, in that more recent research does not build upon the research that has come before it. Much of what has been reported does not reflect the progress that has taken place in recent years within the alcohol consumption and substance use field in terms of theory, assessment, scale development, practice, and interventions with those who use or are addicted to various substances. This SLR raises a number of methodological and theoretical issues to be explored and addressed in future research.
Article
Why are some subnational states more dangerous for journalists? This exploratory article assesses the association of social variables with the murders of journalists within one single country, Mexico, where forty-one journalists were killed from 2010 to 2015. The article suggests that the violent deaths of journalists in Mexico's thirty-two states are more likely to happen in those subnational polities with high levels of social violence, internal conflict, severe violations of human rights, low democratic development, and economic inequality. The implications of this research and policy recommendations are discussed within the conclusion.
Article
Full-text available
Este reporte analiza el impacto de la pandemia por COVID-19 en el quehacer periodístico en México. Mediante una encuesta no-probabilística con N=472 periodistas, se examinan los roles periodísticos que los periodistas consideran importantes en una pandemia; los actores, fuentes y temáticas a las que dieron cobertura; su evaluación sobre el manejo y comunicación de la pandemia por parte de diversas autoridades sanitarias y las áreas que demandan capacitación periodística. Por otro lado, se explora el impacto de la pandemia en su trabajo (rutinas y exposición al riesgo), empleo (despidos y recortes), salud (contagio por COVID-19) y bienestar emocional (cansancio, estrés, preocupación, angustia, frustración). Encontramos que funciones asociadas a los roles de servicio y cívico recibieron el mayor apoyo. Respecto a coberturas, la mayoría dio uso y seguimiento a fuentes oficiales y actores institucionales, especialmente estatales. Por otro lado, los periodistas no sólo fueron alcanzados por la COVID-19, los despidos y la degradación de las condiciones laborales, sino que están más sobrecargados, cansados, estresados y angustiados por su futuro. Muchos debieron sortear dificultades logísticas y coberturas altamente riesgosas para su salud en condiciones de escasa capacitación y protocolos de seguridad mínimos por parte de su medio.
Article
EN. There is a growing recognition that journalists are exposed to dangerous or hazardous working conditions in many places worldwide. These conditions are suggested to be linked to greater macro-related structural risks, including changes to the political economy of news that increase labor precarity, cultural and identity-based risks from oppressive normative systems, aggressive partisans and extremists, and risks originating from weak or changing enforcement of the rule of law that increases journalists' vulnerability to corrupt officials, security forces and criminal groups. While previous research has linked these structural risks to acts of workplace victimization of journalists, it has not considered how structural risks are connected to the subjective experience of victimization, which includes emotional upheaval and varying coping strategies. Anchoring this study in the sociology of risk literature with general strain theory, this study considers how greater, macro-level structures are tied to journalist’s victimization, emotions and coping using open and closed survey response data from 21 Mexican and 33 Brazilian journalists. Survey data was collected through matched subnational context designs and snowball sampling strategies. Findings show that journalists recalled victimization experiences that were linked to labor market and workplace risks, risks associated with the rule of law, culturally based risks, and identity-based risks. As a result, journalists engaged in short and long-term coping strategies. Coping strategies were also either individualistic or collectivist in nature, with coping strategies ultimately being influenced by country and regional contexts. *** FR. Il est de plus en plus reconnu que les journalistes sont exposés à des conditions de travail risquées ou dangereuses dans de nombreux endroits du monde. On admet par ailleurs que ces conditions sont liées à des risques structurels macroéconomiques plus importants, notamment les changements dans l'économie politique de l'information qui augmentent la précarité de la main-d'œuvre, les risques culturels et identitaires liés à des systèmes normatifs oppressifs, à des partisans et des extrémistes agressifs, et les risques découlant d'une application faible ou mouvante de l'état de droit qui accroît la vulnérabilité des journalistes face aux fonctionnaires corrompus, aux forces de sécurité et aux groupes criminels. Si des recherches antérieures ont établi un lien entre ces risques structurels et les actes de victimisation des journalistes sur leur lieu de travail, elles n'ont pas examiné comment les risques structurels sont liés à l'expérience subjective de la victimisation, qui comprend un bouleversement émotionnel et diverses stratégies d'adaptation. Ancrant cette étude dans la sociologie du risque et la littérature autour de la théorie de la tension générale (general strain theory), cette étude examine comment les structures plus importantes, au niveau macro, sont liées à la victimisation, aux émotions et à l'adaptation des journalistes en utilisant les résultats à une enquête par questions ouvertes et fermées de 21 journalistes mexicains et 33 brésiliens. Les données de l'enquête ont été recueillies dans des contextes subnationaux similaires et grâce à des stratégies d'échantillonnage en boule de neige. Les résultats montrent que les journalistes témoignent d'expériences de victimisation liées aux risques associés au marché et au lieu de travail, à l'État de droit, aux risques culturels et aux risques liés à l'identité. Par conséquent, les journalistes ont adopté des stratégies d'adaptation à court et à long terme. Les stratégies d'adaptation peuvent relever d’une nature individualiste ou collective et elles sont influencées par les contextes nationaux et régionaux. *** PT. Há um reconhecimento crescente de que os jornalistas estão expostos a condições de trabalho arriscadas ou perigosas em muitos lugares do mundo. Sugere-se que essas condições estejam ligadas a maiores riscos estruturais macro-relacionados, incluindo mudanças na economia política de notícias que aumentam a precariedade do trabalho, riscos culturais e de identidade de sistemas normativos opressores, partidários agressivos e extremistas e riscos originados de uma aplicação fraca ou de alterações legais que aumentam a vulnerabilidade dos jornalistas a funcionários corruptos, forças de segurança e grupos criminosos. Embora pesquisas anteriores tenham vinculado esses riscos estruturais a atos de vitimização de jornalistas no local de trabalho, não se considerou como os riscos estruturais estão ligados à experiência subjetiva de vitimização, que inclui distúrbios emocionais e várias estratégias de enfrentamento. Ancorado na sociologia da literatura de risco com a teoria geral da tensão (general strain theory), este estudo considera como estruturas maiores de nível macro estão ligadas à vitimização, emoções e enfrentamento do jornalista usando dados de resposta de pesquisa aberta e fechada de 21 jornalistas mexicanos e 33 brasileiros. Os dados da pesquisa foram coletados por meio de projetos de contexto subnacional correspondentes e estratégias de amostragem por bola de neve. As descobertas mostram que os jornalistas relembraram experiências de vitimização que estavam relacionadas aos riscos do mercado de trabalho e do local de trabalho, riscos associados ao Estado de direito, riscos de base cultural e riscos de identidade. Como resultado, os jornalistas se engajaram em estratégias de enfrentamento de curto e longo prazo. As estratégias de enfrentamento também eram de natureza individualista ou coletivista, com as estratégias de enfrentamento sendo, em última análise, influenciadas pelos contextos nacionais e regionais. ***
Article
Using oral testimony with 60 present and former Australian newspaper photographers, this article examines their frequent exposure to high-risk situations and the physical and psychological costs. Photographers engage with both vulnerability and aberration, and at the same time negotiate with editors who demand and prize a proximity and emotional closeness to danger. With a particular focus on war, disaster, and everyday assignments, the article reveals a litany of hazardous experiences. It considers the photographers’ reflections, the physical effects, the significant prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and trauma-related symptoms, and the support and failings of their news organisations. The article argues that the seismic changes in the photographers’ workplace and their profession have further compounded the psychological and physical stress. This work illuminates new understanding about the historical and contemporary experiences of news photographers and the impact of the fracturing newspaper industry in Australia.
Article
Full-text available
Mental health research focusing on journalists has largely tended to give precedence to trauma exposure and subsequent symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. However, there are several occupational factors that may be associated with the development of depressive symptoms in journalists. This systematic literature review aims to provide a concise, comprehensive, and systematic review of the quantitative literature relating to journalists’ experiences of depressive symptoms. The systematic literature review method adopted was based on that prescribed by Fink and contains three main elements: sampling the literature, screening the literature, and extracting data. Key terms were developed and used to source appropriate studies from several electronic databases, a hand search of reference lists was conducted, and authors were contacted to suggest examples of their own work not yet sampled. The sample included 13 quantitative studies reported in English language. Journalists most at risk of experiencing depressive symptoms had (1) greater exposure to work-related and personal trauma, (2) experienced threats to themselves or their family, and (3) reduced levels of family and peer support, social acknowledgment, and education. An area for further investigation is the prevalence and experiences of specific depressive disorders within the journalist population. There are a number of theoretical and methodological issues that can be addressed in future research.
Article
Full-text available
There is a growing recognition that journalists are exposed to dangerous or hazardous working conditions in many places worldwide. These conditions are suggested to be linked to greater macro-related structural risks, including changes to the political economy of news that increase labor precarity, cultural and identity-based risks from oppressive normative systems, aggressive partisans and extremists, and risks originating from weak or changing enforcement of the rule of law that increases journalists' vulnerability to corrupt officials, security forces and criminal groups. While previous research has linked these structural risks to acts of workplace victimization of journalists, it has not considered how structural risks are connected to the subjective experience of victimization, which includes emotional upheaval and varying coping strategies. Anchoring this study in the sociology of risk literature with general strain theory, this study considers how greater, macro-level structures are tied to journalist’s victimization, emotions and coping using open and closed survey response data from 21 Mexican and 33 Brazilian journalists. Survey data was collected through matched subnational context designs and snowball sampling strategies. Findings show that journalists recalled victimization experiences that were linked to labor market and workplace risks, risks associated with the rule of law, culturally based risks, and identity-based risks. As a result, journalists engaged in short and long-term coping strategies. Coping strategies were also either individualistic or collectivist in nature, with coping strategies ultimately being influenced by country and regional contexts
Article
The study of trauma in journalism tends to assume that trauma exposure (whether it has been a single event or a series of cumulative episodes) is past and finite. However, this article argues that the notion of trauma exposure as temporally located in the past fails to adequately capture the experiences of local, indigenous journalists living and working in contexts of protracted conflict or violence. There is a growing, if contested, acknowledgement that existing conceptualizations of traumatic stress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), have limited utility in conditions of ongoing violence and danger. In contrast, and based on a participant observation study conducted over three years, this article proposes a spectrum of continuous traumatic stressors and charts the continuous traumatic stress (CTS) of four local reporters in Colombia, living and working in a context of intractable conflict. In this setting, where local journalists have become agents for peace, CTS conjoins the mental wellbeing of individual reporters with their capacity for peace-building.
Article
Journalists in Mexico face hundreds of attacks each year, ranging from online harassment and physical intimidation to outright murder. The official narrative typically claims that murdered journalists are the victims of general criminal violence. This article finds that despite the rampant violence in Mexico, the murder of journalists cannot be attributed to the country’s general criminal violence problem alone. Instead, the evidence points to the targeting, and even political targeting of journalists. First, journalists are at a much higher risk of being murdered than the general population. Second, the divergence between homicide rates among the general population and among journalists varies considerably between Mexican states. While recent scholarship has shown that subnational governments can successfully remain authoritarian despite democratization at the central or federal level, this literature has largely ignored the use of political killings in subnational undemocratic regimes. This article attempts to understand the murder of journalists not just as a problem of criminal violence, but also of political violence, and thereby connects the findings to the existing scholarship on subnational authoritarianism.
Book
Reporting War and Conflict brings together history, theory and practice to explore the issues and obstacles involved in the reporting of contemporary war and conflict. The book examines the radical changes taking place in the working practices and day-to-day routines of war journalists, arguing that managing risk has become central to modern war correspondence. How individual reporters and news organisations organise their coverage of war and conflict is increasingly shaped by a variety of personal, professional and institutional risks. The book provides an historical and theoretical context to risk culture and the work of war correspondents, paying particular attention to the changing nature of technology, organisational structures and the role of witnessing. The conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria are examined to highlight how risk and the calculations of risk vary according to the type of conflict. The focus is on the relationship between propaganda, censorship, the sourcing of information and the challenges of reporting war in the digital world. The authors then move on to discuss the arguments around risk in relation to gender and war reporting and the coverage of death on the battlefield. Reporting War and Conflict is a guide to the contemporary changes in warfare and the media environment that have influenced war reporting. It offers students and researchers in journalism and media studies an invaluable overview of the life of a modern war correspondent.
Article
This article presents a mapping review of the available literature on the emotional well-being of journalists exposed to traumatic events. The review consists of three parts: (a) a summary of the results of trauma-related literature; (b) identification of the limitations of studies to date; and (c) suggestions for future research. The overview of the reviewed studies is provided as a table.
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic, global economic downturn, anti-press violence and worsening situation of labour precarity for journalists around the world have led to increased stress, trauma and burnout in the profession, which raises questions at the heart of media sustainability and approaches to media development in a global context. Our study builds on the conceptual framework of professional and collective resilience research to analyse the content of media development work on publicly facing websites of a census of implementing organizations represented on the Center for International Media Assistance website ( N = 18). Our findings suggest that donors and other sponsors of media development work should consider making resilience a core component of global programmes in support of media democracy and journalism. Though programmatic agendas in global media development are crowded with multiple goals in response to complex problems, we believe that resilience should be prioritized. This work cannot be done without a nuanced analysis of local causes of emotional distress as well as local understandings of emotional labour and repair. Working with journalists’ support organizations and employers in conducting diagnoses, identifying suitable actions and promoting sustainable practices is imperative. Recommendations and actions need to be sensitive to local conditions, demands and opportunities. While immediate remediation actions are important, it is also important to keep attention on long-term structural matters that cause emotional distress.
Article
Purpose Afghanistan is one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists. There are, however, no data on the mental health of Afghan journalists covering conflict in their country. The study aims to determine the degree to which Afghan journalists are exposed to traumatic events, their perceptions of organizational support, their rates of symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, their utilization of mental health services and the effectiveness of the treatment received. Design/methodology/approach The entire study was undertaken in Dari (Farsi). Five major Afghan news organizations representing 104 journalists took part of whom 71 (68%) completed a simple ten-point analog scale rating perceptions of organizational support. Symptoms of PTSD and depression were recorded with the Impact of Event Scale – Revised (IES-R) and the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), respectively. Behavioral comparisons were undertaken between those journalists who had and had not received mental health therapy. Findings The majority of journalists exceeded cutoff scores for PTSD and major depression and reported high rates for exposure to traumatic events. There were no significant differences in IES-R and CES-D scores between journalists who had and had not received mental health therapy. Most journalists did not view their employers as supportive. Originality/value To the best of authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to collect empirical data on the mental health of Afghan journalists. The results highlight the extreme stressors confronted by them, their correspondingly high levels of psychopathology and the relative ineffectiveness of mental health therapy given to a minority of those in distress. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Article
Purpose – More journalists died in Syria during 2013 than in any other country experiencing conflict. This statistic raises concerns about the psychological wellbeing of journalists covering the internecine violence. The paper aims to discuss this issue. Design/methodology/approach – The study sample was made up of 59 western journalists currently covering the Syrian conflict. To place these results in the broader context of war journalism previously collected data from a group of 84 journalists who had reported the war in Iraq were used as a control sample. Outcome measures included indices of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Impact of Event Scale-revised) and psychological distress (General Health Questionnaire-28 item version (GHQ-28)). Findings – Compared to journalists who covered the Iraq war, the journalists working in Syria were more likely to be female ( p =0.007), single ( p =0.018), freelance ( p =0.0001) and had worked fewer years as a journalist ( p =0.012). They were more depressed according to the GHQ-28 ( p =0.001) and endorsed more individual symptoms of depression including worthlessness ( p =0.012), helplessness ( p =0.02) and suicidal intent ( p =0.003). A linear regression analysis revealed that the group differences in depression data could not be accounted for by demographic factors. Research limitations/implications – An absence of structured interviews. Results not applicable to local Syrian journalists. Practical implications – Western journalists covering Syrian appear to be particularly vulnerable to the development of depression. Journalists and the news organizations that employ them need to be cognizant of data such as these. Given that depression is treatable, there needs to be a mechanism in place to detect and treat those in need. Originality/value – This is the first study that highlights the emotional toll on western journalists covering the Syrian conflict.
Article
Full-text available
War experience may affect mental health. However, no community-based study has assessed mental disorders several years after war using consistent random sampling of war-affected people across several Western countries. To assess current prevalence rates of mental disorders in an adult population who were directly exposed to war in the Balkans and who still live in the area of conflict, and to identify factors associated with the occurrence of different types of mental disorders. War-affected community samples in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia, and Serbia were recruited through a random-walk technique. Prevalence rates of mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders were assessed using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview. Between 637 and 727 interviewees were assessed in each country (N = 3313). The prevalence rates were 15.6% to 41.8% for anxiety disorders, 12.1% to 47.6% for mood disorders, and 0.6% to 9.0% for substance use disorders. In multivariable analyses across countries, older age, female sex, having more potentially traumatic experiences during and after the war, and unemployment were associated with higher rates of mood and anxiety disorders. In addition, mood disorders were correlated with lower educational level and having more potentially traumatic experiences before the war. Male sex and not living with a partner were the only factors associated with higher rates of substance use disorders. Most of these associations did not significantly differ among countries. Several years after the end of the war, the prevalence rates of mental disorders among war-affected people vary across countries but are generally high. War experiences appear to be linked to anxiety and mood disorders but not substance use disorders. Long-term policies to meet the mental health needs of war-affected populations are required.
Article
Full-text available
This longitudinal study of physical injury survivors examined the degree to which Hispanic and non-Hispanic Caucasians reported similar posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Adult physical trauma survivors (N = 677) provided information regarding posttraumatic distress by completing an interview-administered version of the PTSD Symptom Checklist (Civilian version) at 3 time points: within days of trauma exposure and again at 6 and 12 months posttrauma. Structural equation modeling with propensity weights was used in analyzing data. Results replicated prior research indicating that Hispanics report greater overall PTSD symptom severity. However, the size of this effect varied significantly across the 17 individual PTSD symptoms, and several symptoms were not reported more highly by Hispanics. Relative to non-Hispanic Caucasians, Hispanics tended to report higher levels of symptoms that could be regarded as exaggerated or intensified cognitive and sensory perceptions (e.g., hypervigilance, flashbacks). In contrast, few differences were observed for symptoms characteristic of impaired psychological functioning (e.g., difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbance). Findings suggest that the pattern of PTSD symptoms experienced most prominently by Hispanics differs in kind and not merely in degree. Results have implications for theory aimed at explaining this ethnic disparity in posttraumatic psychological distress as well as for clinical intervention with trauma-exposed Hispanics.
Article
Full-text available
Uncertainties continue about the roles that methodological factors and key risk factors, particularly torture and other potentially traumatic events (PTEs), play in the variation of reported prevalence rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression across epidemiologic surveys among postconflict populations worldwide. To undertake a systematic review and meta-regression of the prevalence rates of PTSD and depression in the refugee and postconflict mental health field. An initial pool of 5904 articles, identified through MEDLINE, PsycINFO and PILOTS, of surveys involving refugee, conflict-affected populations, or both, published in English-language journals between 1980 and May 2009. Surveys were limited to those of adult populations (n > or = 50) reporting PTSD prevalence, depression prevalence, or both. Excluded surveys comprised patients, war veterans, and civilian populations (nonrefugees/asylum seekers) from high-income countries exposed to terrorist attacks or involved in distal conflicts (> or = 25 years). Methodological factors (response rate, sample size and design, diagnostic method) and substantive factors (sociodemographics, place of survey, torture and other PTEs, Political Terror Scale score, residency status, time since conflict). A total of 161 articles reporting results of 181 surveys comprising 81,866 refugees and other conflict-affected persons from 40 countries were identified. Rates of reported PTSD and depression showed large intersurvey variability (0%-99% and 3%-85.5%, respectively). The unadjusted weighted prevalence rate reported across all surveys for PTSD was 30.6% (95% CI, 26.3%-35.2%) and for depression was 30.8% (95% CI, 26.3%-35.6%). Methodological factors accounted for 12.9% and 27.7% PTSD and depression, respectively. Nonrandom sampling, small sample sizes, and self-report questionnaires were associated with higher rates of mental disorder. Adjusting for methodological factors, reported torture (Delta total R(2) between base methodological model and base model + substantive factor [DeltaR(2)] = 23.6%; OR, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.52-2.65) emerged as the strongest factor associated with PTSD, followed by cumulative exposure to PTEs (DeltaR(2) = 10.8%; OR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.21-1.91), time since conflict (DeltaR(2) = 10%; OR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.66-0.91), and assessed level of political terror (DeltaR(2) = 3.5%; OR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.03-2.50). For depression, significant factors were number of PTEs (DeltaR(2) = 22.0%; OR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.39-1.93), time since conflict (DeltaR(2) = 21.9%; OR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.69-0.93), reported torture (DeltaR(2) = 11.4%; OR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.07-2.04), and residency status (DeltaR(2) = 5.0%; OR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.07-1.57). Methodological factors and substantive population risk factors, such as exposure to torture and other PTEs, after adjusting for methodological factors account for higher rates of reported prevalence of PTSD and depression.
Article
Full-text available
Although posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a highly prevalent and often chronic condition, the relationship between PTSD and functioning and quality of life remains incompletely understood. The authors undertook an archival analysis of data from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study. The study subjects consisted of the nationally representative sample of male Vietnam veterans who participated in the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study. The authors estimated PTSD at the time of the interview with the Mississippi Scale for Combat-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. They examined the following outcomes: diminished well-being, physical limitations, bed day in the past 2 weeks, compromised physical health status, currently not working, and perpetration of violence. Logistic models were used to determine the association between PTSD and outcome; adjustment was made for demographic characteristics and comorbid psychiatric and other medical conditions. The risks of poorer outcome were significantly higher in subjects with PTSD than in subjects without PTSD in five of the six domains. For the outcome domains of physical limitations, not working, compromised physical health, and diminished well-being, these significantly higher risks persisted even in the most conservative logistic models that removed the shared effects of comorbid psychiatric and other medical disorders. The suffering associated with combat related-PTSD extends beyond the signs and symptoms of the disorder to broader areas of functional and social morbidity. The significantly higher risk of impaired functioning and diminished quality of life uniquely attributable to PTSD suggests that PTSD may well be the core problem in this group of difficult to treat and multiply afflicted patients.
Article
Full-text available
We used the 1997 Ontario Drug Monitor, a population-based, random-digit dialing survey of 2,776 adults, to obtain a baseline assessment of alcohol drinking by Ontarians against the 1997 low-risk drinking guidelines of the Addiction Research Foundation and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. Average weekly alcohol consumption and the frequency of exceeding the daily limit, estimated using the graduated frequency scale, were determined for the population overall, and by sex and age group (18-44 and 45+ years). Most Ontarians drank alcohol in a pattern associated with a low risk of health consequences. About 10% of women and 25% of men drank in a style associated with some increase in acute or long-term risk. Younger men were most likely to drink in a risky pattern. Most drinkers of middle age or older, for whom cardiovascular disease is a significant health risk, consumed alcohol in a pattern associated with cardiovascular benefit.
Article
Full-text available
In 1997 the Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario and Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse released updated guidelines for low-risk alcohol consumption. This paper presents the scientific rationale behind this statement. Important comprehensive overviews on the consequences of alcohol use were studied. Formal meta-analyses on morbidity and mortality were examined wherever possible. Individual elements from similar guidelines were investigated for their scientific foundation. Limited original analyses defined risk levels by average weekly consumption. The evidence reviewed demonstrated that placing limits on both daily intake and cumulative intake over the typical week is justifiable for the prevention of important causes of morbidity and mortality. Gender-specific limits on weekly consumption were also indicated. In these updated guidelines intended for primary prevention, days of abstinence are not necessarily recommended. Intoxication should be avoided and abstinence is sometimes advisable. Available evidence does not strongly favour one alcoholic beverage over another for cardiovascular health benefits.
Article
Mexican journalists are frequently the victims of violence, often drug related. The purpose of the study was to assess their mental well-being. Of 104 journalists recruited from 3 news organizations, those who had stopped working on drug-related stories because of intimidation from the criminal drug cartels (n = 26) had significantly greater social dysfunction (p = .024); and more depressive (p = .001) and higher intrusive (p = .027), avoidance (p = .005), and arousal (p = .033) symptoms than journalists living and working under threat in regions of drug violence (n = 61). They also had more arousal (p = .05) and depressive (p = .027) symptoms than journalists (n = 17) never threatened before and living in regions without a drug problem. These findings provide preliminary data on the deleterious effects of drug-related violence on the Mexican media, amplifying the concerns expressed by journalist watchdog organizations monitoring the state of the press in the country.
Article
Evidence suggests that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders (SUD) are associated with poorer physical health among U.S. veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF). No research of which we are aware has examined the independent and interactive effects of PTSD and SUD on medical comorbidity among OEF/OIF veterans. This cross-sectional study examined medical record data of female and male OEF/OIF veterans with ≥ 2 Veterans Affairs primary care visits (N = 73,720). Gender-stratified logistic regression analyses, adjusted for sociodemographic factors, were used to examine the association of PTSD, SUD, and their interaction on the odds of medical diagnoses. PTSD was associated with increased odds of medical diagnoses in 9 of the 11 medical categories among both women and men, range of odds ratios (ORs) ranged from 1.07 to 2.29. Substance use disorders were associated with increased odds of 2 of the 11 medical categories among women and 3 of the 11 medical categories among men; ORs ranged from 1.20 to 1.74. No significant interactions between PTSD and SUD were detected for women or men. Overall, findings suggest that PTSD had a stronger association with medical comorbidity (in total and across various medical condition categories) than SUD among female and male OEF/OIF veterans.
Article
The study assessed the effects of war captivity on posttraumatic stress symptoms and marital adjustment among Prisoners of War (POWs) from the Yom Kippur War. It was hypothesized that men's perception of level of forgiveness mediates the relation between posttraumatic symptoms and marital adjustment. The sample consisted of 157 Israeli veterans divided into 3 groups: 21 POWs with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), 58 former POWs without PTSD, and 70 control veterans. The findings indicated that former POWs with PTSD reported lower levels of marital satisfaction and forgiveness than veterans in the other 2 groups. In addition, men's perception of level of forgiveness mediated the relationship between their posttraumatic symptoms and their marital adjustment. The theoretical and clinical implications of these results are discussed.
Article
The current study aimed to evaluate the impact of fear for family remaining in the country of origin and under potential threat on the mental health of refugees. Adult Mandaean refugees (N=315) from Iraq, living in Sydney, Australia, were interviewed regarding fear for family in Iraq, fear of genocide, pre-migration trauma, post-migration living difficulties and psychological outcomes. Participants with immediate family in Iraq reported higher levels of symptoms of PTSD and depression, and greater mental health-related disability than those without family in Iraq. Intrusive fears about family independently predicted risk of PTSD, depression and disability after controlling for trauma exposure and current living difficulties. Threat to family members living in a context of ongoing threat predicted psychopathology and disability in Mandaean refugees. The effect of ongoing threat to family still living in conflict-ridden countries on the mental health of refugees should be further considered in the context of healthcare.
Article
SYNOPSIS This study reports the factor structure of the symptoms comprising the General Health Questionnaire when it is completed in a primary care setting. A shorter, 28-item GHQ is proposed consisting of 4 subscales: somatic symptoms, anxiety and insomnia, social dysfunction and severe depression. Preliminary data concerning the validity of these scales are presented, and the performance of the whole 28-item questionnaire as a screening test is evaluated. The factor structure of the symptomatology is found to be very similar for 3 independent sets of data.
Article
SYNOPSIS A prospective study documenting psychopathology was undertaken in 48 subjects exposed to a range of physical trauma, but whose injuries were of similar severity. No support was found for the DSM-III-R view correlating the severity of the stressor with the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Distress post injury (high scores on the impact of event scale), indicative of difficulty with cognitive assimilation of the traumatic event, was found to be highly predictive of psychiatric morbidity and PTSD at 6 months.
Article
Synopsis This study confirms the validity of a Spanish version of the General Health Questionnaire in its scaled 28-item version. The screening instrument was tested on a sample of 100 patients attending an internal medicine out-patient clinic, who were examined independently by psychiatrists standardized in the use of the Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS). The questionnaire correctly identified 85% of “cases” with a cutting score of 6/7 (sensitivity 76·9%, specificity 90·2%), and 83% of cases with a cutting score of 5/6 (sensitivity 84·6%, specificity 82%), suggesting a discriminative power almost as good as the Spanish GHQ-60. It has the important advantage of being considerably shorter and, although the 4 subscales are by no means independent, its concurrent validity with CIS ratings suggests that they provide additional information concerning anxiety and depression.
Article
War journalists often confront situations of extreme danger in their work. Despite this, information on their psychological well-being is lacking. The authors used self-report questionnaires to assess 140 war journalists, who recorded symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (with the Impact of Event Scale-Revised), depression (with the Beck Depression Inventory-II), and psychological distress (with the 28-item General Health Questionnaire). To control for stresses generic to all journalism, the authors used the same instruments to assess 107 journalists who had never covered war. A second phase of the study involved interviews with one in five journalists from both groups, using the Structured Clinical Interview for Axis I DSM-IV Disorders. The rates of response to the self-report questionnaires were approximately 80% for both groups. There were no demographic differences between groups. Both male and female war journalists had significantly higher weekly alcohol consumption. The war journalists had higher scores on the Impact of Event Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory. Their lifetime prevalence of PTSD was 28.6%, and the rates were 21.4% for major depression and 14.3% for substance abuse. War journalists were not, however, more likely to receive treatment for these disorders. War journalists have significantly more psychiatric difficulties than journalists who do not report on war. In particular, the lifetime prevalence of PTSD is similar to rates reported for combat veterans, while the rate of major depression exceeds that of the general population. These results, which need replicating, should alert news organizations that significant psychological distress may occur in many war journalists and often goes untreated.
Article
Research into postconflict psychiatric sequelae in low-income countries has been focused largely on symptoms rather than on full psychiatric diagnostic assessment. We assessed 3048 respondents from postconflict communities in Algeria, Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Palestine with the aim of establishing the prevalence of mood disorder, somatoform disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other anxiety disorders. PTSD and other anxiety disorders were the most frequent problems. In three countries, PTSD was the most likely disorder in individuals exposed to violence associated with armed conflict, but such violence was a common risk factor for various disorders and comorbidity combinations in different settings. In three countries, anxiety disorder was reported most in people who had not been exposed to such violence. Experience of violence associated with armed conflict was associated with higher rates of disorder that ranged from a risk ratio of 2.10 (95% CI 1.38-2.85) for anxiety in Algeria to 10.03 (5.26-16.65) for PTSD in Palestine. Postconflict mental health programmes should address a range of common disorders beyond PTSD.
Article
To assess ethnic differences in the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a disaster, and to assess the factors that may explain these differences. We used data from a representative survey of the New York City metropolitan area (n=2,616) conducted 6 months after September 11, 2001. Linear models were fit to assess differences in the prevalence of PTSD between different groups of Hispanics and non-Hispanics and to evaluate potential explanatory variables. Hispanics of Dominican or Puerto Rican origin (14.3% and 13.2%, respectively) were more likely than other Hispanics (6.1%) and non-Hispanics (5.2%) to report symptoms consistent with probable PTSD after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Dominicans and Puerto Ricans were more likely than persons of other races/ethnicities to have lower incomes, be younger, have lower social support, have had greater exposure to the September 11 attacks, and to have experienced a peri-event panic attack upon hearing of the September 11 attacks; these variables accounted for 60% to 74% of the observed higher prevalence of probable PTSD in these groups. Socio-economic position, event exposures, social support, and peri-event emotional reactions may help explain differences in PTSD risk after disaster between Hispanic subgroups and non-Hispanics.
Article
The current war in Iraq saw an alliance between the media and the military, a process called embedded journalism. The aim of this study was to explore whether this process affected the journalists' vulnerability to psychological distress. Eighty-five of 100 journalists approached agreed to participate; 38 (44.7%) were embedded. There were no differences between embedded and unilateral (non-embedded) journalists on demographic measures or in their exposure to traumatic events. Similarly, the two groups did not differ on indices of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, psychological distress, and substance use. Based on General Health Questionnaire scores, one third of all journalists were psychologically distressed. There is no evidence from the recent war in Iraq suggesting that embedded journalists are at increased risk for psychological problems.
Article
The Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II; A. T. Beck, R. A. Steer, & G. K. Brown, 1996) is a widely used measure of depressive symptomatology originally authored in English and then translated to Spanish. However, there are very limited data available on the Spanish translation. This study compared the psychometric characteristics of the BDI-II in Spanish and English in a sample of 895 college students. The instrument was administered twice with a 1-week interval, either in the same language on both occasions or in a different language on each occasion. Results show strong internal consistency and good test-retest reliability in both languages. Confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated that the published English-language factor structure showed good fit with data from the Spanish instrument. Among bilingual participants who took the BDI-II in both languages, there was no significant language effect. These data provide initial evidence of comparable reliability and validity between the English and Spanish BDI-II in a nonclinical sample.