Conference Paper

Trauma Exposure and Reactions in Journalists: A systematic literature review

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

Abstract

Background: The present systematic literature review (SLR) aims to provide a concise, comprehensive, and systematic review of the quantitative literature relating to journalists’ exposure and reactions to potentially traumatic events (PTEs). Journalists frequently cover stories relating to fatal car accidents, crime, murder, suicide, natural disasters, and various other forms of violence and tragedy within society. Journalists’ exposure to PTEs, high levels of job stress, and anecdotal reports within the industry seem to suggest that journalists are at risk of developing adverse trauma reactions. Such a SLR has not been conducted in this area before. Method: 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. Results: First, journalists’ exposure to PTEs is discussed. This includes consideration of both work-related and personal exposure to trauma. In addition, stalking victimisation of journalists is considered and tends to overlap both the work and personal domains. Second, possible trauma reactions are examined, including journalists’ prevalence and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, stress, and general psychological distress. A range of variables that have been shown to predict adverse trauma reactions in journalists are also elucidated and explored. Conclusions: Understanding the kinds of PTEs journalists are exposed to as well as the trends in trauma reactions 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 in the international journalism industry. This SLR raises a number of methodological and theoretical issues to be explored and addressed in future research.

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 authors.

... Whereas you know, the way we work now is quite different, you know, we do a lot more remotely, you know, I file half my stories writing them on my phone, you know, we do a lot more live crosses, where it's instant, and off you go, so that whole ability to stop and actually process and debrief as you go, um, is kind of almost gone altogether, so it becomes much more of a cumulative thing. Brooke Not surprisingly, social support from personal and professional networks has been found to be a significant factor in reducing post-trauma distress in a range of populations, including journalists (for a review, see MacDonald, Hodgins, & Saliba, 2015), Navy divers (Leffler & Dembert, 1998), firefighters (Regehr, Hill, Knott, & Sault, 2003), and emergency personnel (Weiss, Marmar, Metzler, & Ronfeldt, 1995). However, a nuanced finding specific to the present study and the occupational setting of TV news is that participants emphasised the importance of having someone to talk to in the car on the way back to the station. ...
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.
... Whereas you know, the way we work now is quite different, you know, we do a lot more remotely, you know, I file half my stories writing them on my phone, you know, we do a lot more live crosses, where it's instant, and off you go, so that whole ability to stop and actually process and debrief as you go, um, is kind of almost gone altogether, so it becomes much more of a cumulative thing. Brooke Not surprisingly, social support from personal and professional networks has been found to be a significant factor in reducing post-trauma distress in a range of populations, including journalists (for a review, see MacDonald, Hodgins, & Saliba, 2015), Navy divers (Leffler & Dembert, 1998), firefighters (Regehr, Hill, Knott, & Sault, 2003), and emergency personnel (Weiss, Marmar, Metzler, & Ronfeldt, 1995). However, a nuanced finding specific to the present study and the occupational setting of TV news is that participants emphasised the importance of having someone to talk to in the car on the way back to the station. ...
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.
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.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.