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Trauma and Grief in Australian Journalism

Trauma and grief is quiet common in all journalists. They have to report on different issues like death, politics, bloodshed, entertainment and other disasters, which may leave them very distraught. These people are supposed to give onsite news, where killings, accidents or any sort of violence takes place, the sorrow of the victims may also affect them, or the way they have to interview the victims. All such incidents have a deep affect on any journalist. Any journalist who is deeply affected may experience severe stress and uneasiness at work.

Journalists may be affected personally, and it is their responsibility to see that they are not affected by the grief around them. Journalists are trained to overcome such situations, but even experienced journalists, who have a vast knowledge and experience in such cases, could also face such situations. Therefore it is necessary that journalists seek help from professionals to overcome such situations. If not treated properly and on time, these people may have to face lots of trouble, which in turn will have an impact on their work and their health.

Journalists who are reportedly exposed to such stressful and grief ridden incidents, run a higher risk of enduring problems like stress, panic attacks, anxiety and depression. Some of the effects and symptoms of exposure to trauma and grief are that these journalists may experience a loss of appetite, become emotional, and show signs of amazement, fright, bad temper, fury, sorrow, insensitive, experience nightmares about violence and death, disturbing thoughts, may exhaust easily, have headaches, have recalls or Trauma in Australian Journalism

flashbacks of the incidents they cover, have problems in their relationship and lose intimacy with their loved ones. To overcome such traumatic depression, every journalist should try to have a healthy way of living with proper exercise and healthy diet. Journalists should try to reduce the use of various drugs and take very little alcohol, to maintain their health. Journalists should try to identify the symptoms of stress and try to deal with such stress levels. They should try to develop any useful hobbies, or practice yoga and meditation to ease them from stress.

Journalists should try to keep themselves occupied to escape from stress. If they still experience stress, they should consult a professional doctor or should take an appointment with a psychologist, to help them come out of such situations. The media organisations which employ journalists should see to it that, the journalists are properly trained at university level before working; they should provide internal support and create an atmosphere which caters to the needs of the journalists.

This could include sufficient coaching and support by the experienced journalists, offering before hand counseling to journalists who are to cover any traumatic news on site. Support for people handling the emergency services like ambulance and the police covering such disasters should also be similar to the journalists. These organizations should also focus on giving special training to journalists who have to cover international assignments, and take care to give the journalists some time off from their daily routine and should also introduce incentives to the journalists and their families depending on their performance.

Trauma in Australian Journalism All media organisations should have a model which includes training the staff members of the newsroom like reporters, editors, photographers, and other administrative staff in essential support procedures. Special professionals give training to the peers or co-workers on the type of support they can offer to their peers. According to studies it was seen that, just talking to a colleague or understanding what the peer is undergoing itself is an achievement by itself. Telling the inner feelings of a journalist produced by any event, is enough to get rid off its harmful effects.

Co-workers can give timely advice to the concerned person, by showing him how to handle the situation and dealing with shock, anger, stress and guiltiness after handling traumatic incidents. Often it is the co-worker who identifies the signs of pain and anxiety in their colleagues. The peers are trained to identify danger signs in the actions of their contemporaries. Professionally trained journalists who know how to handle death and violence are more liable to handle such experiences, and can go on to work as efficient reporters. It is the job of the reporter to write accurate reports which touches the hearts of the audience.

These reports should be such that they should not have an emotional impact on the reader. To extract all these characteristics from a reporter, emphasis on proper education and training in journalism is a must. It is not only the responsibility of the organisations who employ the reporters to train them, but universities and other educational institutions should take an active part in educating the students of journalism. Institutes should give the students hands on knowledge on how to deal with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and also emphasise on certain plans when taking part in certain types of reporting.

Trauma in Australian Journalism Journalists are trained to collect news, take in tragedy and violence and offer them in print to the public. They are trained not to become affected and not to break down, and continue with their job. Journalists should try not to be affected by the news they cover. When journalists keep getting flashbacks of the incidents they cover for more than a month, it is nothing but PTSD. Journalists can be disturbed by any such incidents, even without seeing them, and can experience PTSD, they might even become disturbed by sympathy towards them.

While covering any tragic incidents, journalists should not suppress they feelings but try to express them freely. Journalists are also human, and they should not ignore they emotions and try to vent them out. Journalists should try not to get into a routine, but occasionally give themselves a break, and try to include other activities in their life. Else all the activity and tragedy in their professional life, may take a toll on the journalists. It is very important that journalists realise that they are human and try to accept it.

If a journalist is successful in not showing his emotions in public and has an effective way of dealing with his emotions, people get a clear idea of the actual news. Each reporter should experience and feel what the victim is undergoing, to get a clear picture of the incident and to bring the feel in the news. Journalists should be smooth talkers and should be very tactful in handling the victims while interviewing them, to get an effective feel to the whole feature. Therefore it is very important that the reporter be confident and persuading.

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