Journalism and Trauma

Course Overview

Journalism and Trauma
Self-Directed Course
This $29.95 course is free thanks to the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Time Estimate:
This course takes about an hour to complete.

About Self-Directed Courses

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.

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.

What Will I Learn:

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Define traumatic stress and understand its effects.
  • Know why it is important for journalists to understand the effects of traumatic stress.
  • Identify posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder (ASD) and the potential effects of working with traumatized individuals, including secondary traumatic stress, burnout and vicarious traumatization.
  • Interview people who have experienced a traumatic event.
  • Cope with secondary stress disorder as a journalist.
Training Partner:

Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma

The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, is dedicated to informed, innovative and ethical news reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy.

Technical Requirements:

For this course you will need to have at least version 7.0 of the Flash plugin installed. For the best experience, we suggest that:

  • PC users use Internet Explorer or Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox
  • Mac users use Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox or Safari
  • You set your monitor resolution to 1024 x 768 or higher
  • You use a high speed connection