A question for reporters: what would you like to get from an emergency worker while covering a tragedy?

November 9, 2009

Dear Friends,

It has been a while since I wrote here the last time… I apologize for the long silence (not that I really hope that you’ve really noticed – but I have been sort of ashamed that I abandoned my blog here for ages…) well, anyway, I’m back.

Back – and have a question for you. I would really appreciate if you brainstorm on the topic above, what could emergency workers do to help reporters cover tragedies and conflicts? What would you like them to do or not to do so that it would be a tandem not a Pushmi-Pullyu?

I’m giving a seminar for young / future emergency workers and plan to talk with them about trauma and trauma coverage.

***

To fill the gap between my rare posts I’ll report that this summer I conducted a series of seminars on stress and trauma for journalists and editors of the Russian Information Agency "Novosti" (News), one of the largest news agencies in Russia. It was very interesting – for me, and hopefully for my participants. At least we had fun writing down our stressors at work – and finding out that we love our job for the same reasons we hate it (lack of time means fast flow of diverse information – not boring; multitasking causes stress sometimes but also makes you feel important and responsible, etc. etc. etc.)

Here are some pictures:

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Looking forward to your input, and thanks in advace!

Olga.



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One thought on “A question for reporters: what would you like to get from an emergency worker while covering a tragedy?”

  1. Olga,
    In August I signed up to a four day course with RedR UK http://www.redr.org.uk/ (a disaster management and preparations charity for NGO workers), the course was titled Personal Security in Emergencies and I went there to learn something about being a reporter working with Aid workers. The course was very intense and I learned a lot about security, logistics and protection as a unit.
    Something I learned during this course was that varying amounts of information comes from ‘hot zones’. Generally I presume the information given to reporters embarking aboard will get the country information from the internet or a press release by the Editor. But the greatest asset was learning directly from the ground workers there – who see the carnage and can update you on dangers. I was unfortunately chosen as team leader during the live one day simulation with grenades and guns (so forth) and found the real time information from the aid workers proved to be invaluable due to the fact that indigenous peoples and citizens were more open to talk to AID workers than reporters. My team decisions and reporting was made much safer due to this.
    To minimise trauma and length of time in ‘hot zones’ I did notice that the participatory photography tool ‘Photovoice’ http://www.photovoice.org/ works well because it doesnt expose the reporter to long batches of PTSD, and it also is more likely to give an accurate view and communication tool of what is truly going on there.
    Thanks
    http://stephensidlo.blogspot.com/2009/07/general-kidnappingmy-skin.html

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