Before/During/After the Story: Trauma Resources for Journalists & Sources

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Project Title:

Before/During/After the Story: Trauma Resources for Journalists & Sources

Project Video

Project Participants:

Nick Laurel, Chris Michael, Ravi M., Frederick D., Eric F, Bruce Shapiro, Peggy Kerry, Ben G., Gwen McClure, John Bentley

NGO Project Lead:

Technologist Project Lead:

Project Presenter:

Group Number:


Problem Set Format

Problem sets and solutions provide a method that details everything you need to get support to a critical problem to which an NGO or a grassroots organization faces.

How do we use tech tools to prevent emotional and physical trauma to ourselves, our fixers, translators and sources before, during and in the aftermath of covering conflict?

  • Before: decision tree/assessment
  • During: tech tools & tactics per scenario
  • After: portal to support journalists in conflict situations

Aftermath: Collaborative Network for resources, mentoring, message board (both closed and open)

Summary of the Problem

This is a description of the problem situation. What kind of people mission better if this problem is solved?

There is a lack of resources and support for traumatic experiences that journalists encounter before, during and after coverage in conflict zones.

How to create and facilitate networks of support for those who have experienced trauma.

Need for

  • Tip sheets
  • Decision tree for project/report trip planning; can there be a technological capture of the practical portion of planning (Chris Michael interested on working on)
  • How to be in touch with colleagues, mentors, and peers
  • Peer support is the best indicator for psychological resilience
  • PTSD Coach as a potential app to consider (developed by verterns’ administration)
  • Tools for before/during/after: which resources for each stage
    • Before: decision tree
    • During
    • After
  • From Dart Ctr’s practices:
    • Also do before/during/after
    • Facilitate convos
      • Talk directly about the craft of type of reporting (a safe space for many reporters – useful entry point)
      • Then phase into convos about self-care and organizational responsibilities and steps/tools for how to support staff
  • For some, have created formal support networks – senior peer supporters (ABC Aus has a trained trauma support structurally in org)
  • Bringing journos together in groups with experts
  • Dart online resources: tip sheets, how journos have dealt with various issues, recommendations and guides. One tech solution Dart has is a development of a web-based self-care curriculum for LatAm journos – currently in beta testing “My recovery”)
  • Support from psych 1:1 via Skype considered acceptable means of tech-supported activities.
      • Can we leverage listservs that are used amongst journalists who share on their profession?
      • Idea of having something akin to a “radio call-in program”
      • How much will they come to resources vs. need to be reached out to?
      • Wide range of forms for these resources: Static resources onlie;
      • Need language resources; need various means for end-users to access, especially in contexts of low-access and censorship
      • Need to have option for anonymity that is clear and assures privacy for all users. Also need to have information for users on cost/benefit of anonymity/identification, and what measures are being taking to protect privacy and keep anonymity.
      • Self-assessment as well as decision-tree?
  • Decision-tree as tool to help make decisions in the moment; self-assessment as “aftermath” tool.
      • Goal is to create robust resources
      • Ravi’s idea of a ticketing system for reports from the ground
      • Look at Lightstalkers as an example?
      • Need to include support/outreach/resources for fixers & translators
      • Types of actors: those who live/remain in site of reporting, vs those who parachute in & out

Summary of the Proposed Solution

This should provide an outline of the basic need that would solve the above problem.

To build a robust system to provide direct services including but not limited to linking journalists with resources, mentors and peer networks.

Technology to Solve the Problem

Areas of technology that you believe have the potential to solve this problem? (eg mobile devices, social networks, geospatial technology, etc.). As the proposed solution could be used?

Online portal and mobile app that works online and off-line.


Existing solutions or relevant links

What other information could help technologists working on this idea?

There are sites like “Vulture Club” and “Light Stalkers” and “Frontline Club” already provide journalists with resources. For trauma issues, the Dart Center.

Follow-on Actions

Once a potential solution has been developed, what is your plan of action to implement it? Should arise as a series of steps and goals, preferably together with actions assigned to a specific group of people.

  • Setting up a listserv of group participants to continue the conversation. Perhaps create a private Facebook group for internal comnunication.
  • Hernan R. will provide information on mentoring.
  • Carol W. will provide resource information.
  • Ruth M. and Bruce Shapiro will provide community information.