Journal of Media Studies, Vol 37, No 1 (2022)

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Journalistic Community and Secondary Trauma Stress Disorder: A Perception Analysis of Mainstream Journalists of Pakistan

Fatima Misbah


Journalists are frequently deployed in danger zones and exposed to hostile environments. They frequently investigate and report stories that are sensitive in nature like news stories of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, crimes, wars, and conflicts. Violence and hostility are burgeoned out of proportion in our society with every passing day. In Pakistan, journalists are rarely taught how to deal with a range of emotions that they are likely to encounter. This study aims to highlight the level of awareness in the journalistic community in Pakistan about the secondary trauma that they experience while investigating and reporting sensitive issues. The quantitative data was collected by conducting surveys in nine different electronic media houses in Islamabad, Pakistan. 110 journalists participated in the survey. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted of 10 journalists of various experience levels to further investigate the psychological state and the type of events that affected them. The results indicate that 43% of the journalists suffered from depression; out of which 53% of the journalists were reporters. 77.6% of journalists agreed that they do not consider themselves equipped with skills to meet psycho-social challenges that they encounter in the newsrooms or in the field. The research recommends the need of upgrading the mass communication curricula and the establishment of trauma centers for journalists across Pakistan. 


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