Course reflection

Mari Muzzi

I took the course on Journalism and Trauma. Since journalists often have to interview individuals who have experienced stressful and traumatic situations. It is beneficial to be able to identify post traumatic stress and other stress related disorders when interviewing these people. Also, it is good to know this information because journalists who cover crimes, natural disasters and other traumatic situations can experience these stress disorders, as well. The course gave suggestions for interviewing people who are grieving.  Start the interview out with easy questions, such as asking the person to talk about the live of his/her lost loved one, because the story is not just about an accident or whatever the sitution, but also about the life of the decreased. Save the more difficult questions for the end, this allows the person to warm up to you. We had to interview teens from the Tampa Bay Academy of Hope for a group project for a multi media journalism class. Though the story was not about decreased loved one, we wanted to obtain personal stories from the teens and their families about the struggles that they faced and how the program had helped them. We wanted them to tell us about the poverty they experience and what it was like living in areas with higher crime. However, we were unable to get them to open up to us. They didn’t feel comfortable around us.  We should have made small talk with the teens and their parents before we started the interviews, and asked them about school, sports, something to loosen them up and make them feel more comfortable around us.

The other thing that this course discussed was ways for reporters to overcome post traumatic stress disorder by joining support groups, not taking on too many assignments, exercising, playing with children and spending time outdoors. They also talked about seeking professional help when needed. This course offered practical information for reporters in the field and learning students.    

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