Responsible Media Coverage
Media coverage of traumatic events can benefit individuals and communities as much as it can unintentionally add harm to harm. Media coverage must be executed with care and sensitivity. Responsible journalists learn about how people who have experienced trauma may be hurt in very personal, intimate ways when approached to comment about an event and by viewing media coverage of disasters or traumatic events. Responsible media remain sensitive when when editing and publishing or producing media coverage of traumatic events
For example, after 9/11, trauma experts advised that repeated viewing of television images of the World Trade Center collapse could retraumatize some viewers for years after the event, whether they had experienced the original events directly or indirectly. Had this advice been made more widely available, the public would have had information on which to base personal decisions about television viewing.
Events that happen on an individual level, such as horrific child abuse, also can be traumatic for communities. As with events that effect many people, news coverage of these occurrences can do both good and harm. Again, journalists have an opportunity and responsibility to reduce potential harm and promote strength for both individuals and communities.
Resources for Responsible Media Coverage
On Mental Health and Violence
What Parents and Teachers Need to Know
Self-Care Guidelines for Journalists Covering Traumatic Events