Journalism on the Spot: Ethical Dilemmas When Covering Trauma and the Implications for Journalism Education

Journal of Mass Media Ethics 27 (4):235-247 (2012)
When covering traumatic events, novice journalists frequently face situations they are rarely prepared to resolve. This paper highlights ethical dilemmas faced by journalists who participated in a focus group exploring the news media's trauma coverage. Major themes included professional obligations versus ethical responsibilities, journalists' perceived status and roles, permissible harms, and inexperience. Instructional classroom simulations based on experiential learning theory can bridge the gap between the theory of ethical trauma reporting and realities journalists face when covering events that are often chaotic and unpredictable by their very nature. A simulation outline that can be used by journalism instructors is provided
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