- Sarah French
The Dart Center has an entire website dedicated to resources and training for journalists. According to their website,
The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma offers a range of educational, training and consultation services to news organizations and journalism-related nonprofits worldwide. Developed in collaboration with leading trauma experts and news professionals, Dart Center newsroom trainings are available on a range of topics including:
Trauma-aware reporting on vulnerable individuals and communities
Self-care and resilience for trauma-exposed news professionals
Leadership strategies and duty of care: Managing trauma and stress on news teams
Handling graphic imagery
Planning for mass-casualty coverage
Peer support for news organizations
Managing online abuse and threat
According to the Dart Center’s website, they offer “both on-site and remote newsroom briefings and consultations, and can help to develop a customized program for your newsroom or team.”
Poynter is another resource journalists can use. They provide an online training called Journalism and Trauma. According to Poynter (n.d.),
Journalists who cover traumatic events such as violent crimes, horrific accidents, natural disasters and other situations involving human pain and suffering are often required to approach and interview trauma victims or their family members. However, the skills needed to interact with trauma victims do not always come naturally. This course will teach you how traumatic stress affects victims and how to interview trauma victims with compassion and respect. And, this life-and-death pain and suffering doesn’t affect only the victims; it can affect you, too. This course teaches you how to take care of your own health after covering a traumatic event.
Al Tompkins of Poynter and his wife, licensed psychotherapist Reverend Sidney Tompkins were both interviewed for this research. They speak at conferences and newsrooms all across the globe providing training for journalists who cover traumatic events. It started internationally for them, but then they were asked to start helping local journalists. Al Tompkins said, “I've got 46 years of journalism, and she's got 40 something years of therapy... seemed right for us to say, maybe we have something to offer.” Tompkins said training and resources for journalists should be no different than ethics training. He said, “It’s a nonstop. It's sort of like saying, well, when do you learn about ethics? When do you not learn about ethics? Right? It should be a part of your everyday conversation, to say, look, let's pay attention to what's going on here.”
Brad Borders of REBOOT explained realistic training takes place to prepare those who serve. This brings up the question: Could virtual reality training be the realistic training needed to help prepare journalists for protests, mass shooting scenes, grieving mothers?
Virtual Reality has helped train everyone from police officers to the military prepare for tense situations. According to Reyes (2017),
The scenarios are set in 360-degree photos of actual locations, such as schools or city halls that you would really respond to. It’s your city hall. It makes the situation very realistic.
And because there’s a human behind the avatar, they can make the avatar react and say things that can very much happen in real life. So it really exposes the officer to some very real life scenarios allowing law enforcement officers to make some very difficult decisions in a controlled environment with constructive feedback on the officer’s actions.