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integrated healthcare

with a conscience.

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

DART Center for Journalism and Trauma

Covering Violence: A Guide to Ethical Reporting about Victims and Trauma

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs - National Center for PTSD

Guidance for Media Working with Emergency Services


On Mental Health and Violence

Understanding Mental Illness: A SAMHSA Fact Sheet

Mental Illness and Violence: A Harvard Health Publication


What Parents and Teachers Need to Know

Tips for Parents on Media Coverage

Helping Students Cope with Media Coverage of Disasters

Helping Your Child Cope with Media Coverage of Disasters


Self-Care Guidelines for Journalists Covering Traumatic Events

DART Center for Journalism and Trauma

Covering Trauma: Impact on Journalists

How Journalists Cope with Trauma  - DART Center video