Preparing Future Journalists for the Real World: Lessons on Trauma

Monday, September 5, 2011

No matter how many classes you take on the technicalities of writing or how to be ethical in your journalism, nothing can fully prepare you for the first time you see bodies being carried out from a burning buidling or crying community moments after their entire town was flattened by a tornado.

I found an interesting article about a new course at the University of Kansas plans on doing their best to prepare their journalism students for traumatic events they may encounter head-on in their future careers.

The professor (who is a veteran journalist), Tracy Lamsam, says she plans to teach the course with readings and written assignments on the topic, and with lots of guest speakers sharing their experiences in the field.

She also said she is surprised by the amount of students who signed up for the class, which is now up to 85 participants. I think it's great that this many students have signed up because they realize how much it will better their future career.

Growing up in Iowa, I haven't been exposed to much trauma at all. I would assume that the majority of college students haven't, but it's important to consider events like this if you're going into the field of journalism. Even if you plan on spending all your time writing about sports or politics, you'll never know when you'll be in the right place at the right time and have the opportunity to report first-hand on a traumatic, breaking news tragedy.

Not only do reporters need to know how to handle themselves in a situation like this, they need to know how to be helpful to the people they're interview who are being strongly affected by the occurrence.

I found it interesting that the article reported that a girl from Iowa signed up for the course because they only event she'd ever experienced first-hand was the flooding near her hometown of Iowa City.

One of the most important pieces of advice I took from the article was from Ann Brill, the Dean of the KU School of Journalism. I learned that basically, good journalists doesn't just write about the details of the event, they report the emotion and the long-terms effects as well.

Future journalists, always remember to keep these things in mind as your prepare yourself for you dream career!


Post a Comment

  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP