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Psychological Trauma Is A Major Risk When Reporting the News

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Lynda Gonzalez/KUT
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Locals attend a prayer vigil in Floresville, Texas on Nov. 8, 2017 in response to the Sutherland Springs shooting.

With tragedies and disasters dominating media coverage nationwide, what impact does frequent exposure to traumatic events have on people covering the news, as well as those who watch or read it? 

Journalists are often among the first responders to any situation of public interest – reporting on accidents, natural catastrophes and other breaking news. For reporters covering crime, warzones and other sensitive situations, long-term psychological distress can be an occupational hazard.

How is political polarization influencing hostility toward and trust of the media? A gunman opened fire in a Maryland newsroom earlier this summer. How are journalists dealing with increased threats and aggression toward the news media?

How are changes in the American news ecosystem affecting the audience? In what ways can journalists and news consumers handle vicarious trauma?

Guests: 

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet at @TPRSource. 

Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.