Clinicians and Journalists Responding to Disasters

By Newman, Elana; Shapiro, Bruce | Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, February 2014 | Go to article overview

Clinicians and Journalists Responding to Disasters


Newman, Elana, Shapiro, Bruce, Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology


[Author Affiliation]

Elana Newman. 1 Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma Research Office, The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Bruce Shapiro. 2 Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, Columbia University School of Journalism, New York, New York.

Address correspondence to: Elana Newman, PhD, Department of Psychology, The University of Tulsa, 800 South Tucker Drive, Tulsa OK 74104, E-mail: elana-newman@utulsa.edu

Introduction

In the aftermath of disaster, no professional first responders play as controversial a role as journalists. Local news professionals may arrive on a disaster scene with the speed of emergency services and begin relating information before the situation is clear; in a large-scale event, national and international media may blanket a town or region, adding to the overwhelming sense of chaos and burden for local leaders and survivors. Child clinicians in particular may find much to question in media practice: Interviews with children that seem insensitive or unethical; a physical presence that may be overwhelming and an ongoing source of anxiety or anger for community members and families; and coverage that seems to oversimplify psychological recovery, or that anoints charismatic victims or survivors at the expense of a nuanced portrayal.

However, news professionals also serve a crucial function in mass disasters that can promote community recovery and foster mental health interventions. Journalists may play a vital role in defining the extent of the damage by leveraging resources by making stakeholder agencies and the broader society aware of survivors' perspectives and needs, connecting survivors with one another and their families, and educating survivors and the broader society about mental health and related psychosocial aftermath issues.

We believe that clinicians are well positioned to help journalists and the public understand the psychological dimensions of recovery from such events. This is particularly the case with mass casualty events heavily impacting children and families, in which journalists, policy makers, and the public alike may have little insight into the special needs of young people, the developmental implications of childhood trauma, and the value of evidence-based interventions.

However, few clinicians are trained or prepared to interact with journalists, to explain the unfolding events to the community, or to create resources through media. This article will focus on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that child clinicians and other mental health professionals need to consider when working with news professionals. We will also consider the questions of ethics and practice that can arise when clinicians and media interact in times of crisis, with particular attention to children. Although this article is primarily framed in a North American context (both of media culture and disaster response) we will also draw on lessons from international disasters and news organizations in other regions.

Journalists' Roles in Disaster and Recovery

During mass disasters and their aftermath, journalists and media institutions play multiple roles. The first is simply to bear witness. Because of this professional obligation, news professionals rush toward disaster zones, often at considerable personal risk. In 2005, reporters from the New Orleans Times Picayune drove newspaper trucks back into the city at the height of the storm even while their own newsroom was under water (Horne 2006). In December 2012, Connecticut journalists sped to Sandy Hook Elementary School amid reports of an active shooting - including a reporter for the Hartford Courant who learned only after arriving on the scene that his stepdaughter was among the educators killed (Shapiro and Leukhardt 2013). A few months later, Boston Globe photographer John Tlumacki, assigned to the Boston Marathon finish line, instinctively moved in on the scene of the first bomb blast even as spectators fled (Irby 2013), capturing what became iconic images of a terrifying day. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Clinicians and Journalists Responding to Disasters
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.