Smart students

December 22, 2008

Today I’m quite happy with my students 🙂 This semester I’ve been teaching a course on Journalism and Trauma (officially it has a long complicated title that I can’t even remember) for Moscow State University journalism students. They seem to be quite interested. They say their formal education definitely lacks courses like this. Soothing to my ego, there were more students joining the class in the course of the semester (yes here they can do that, there was even one that showed up at the exam today convincing me that he will be happy to write a paper) – than dropping it.

Several of them are writing papers on the course – actually only two submitted it on time, but I don’t really mind. Others promised to finish it by the end of the next month (should I believe them? haha). The topics are quite various – psychology of a reporter in extreme situations, tips on interviewing sick kids, reporting on terroristic attack and interviewing hostages, programs of support that editors and managers ought to offer to their reporters, stress and perception – how traumatic environment skews our ability to (critically) process the information (and how media can manipulate the masses by “nightmaring” (*) people).

(*) “Nightmare” is a noun, as well as its translation in Russian. But recently there is a slang form made up by creative journalists which makes “nightmare” into a verb in an expression like “tv reporters are nightmaring their viewers” – i.e., showing them too many gory news reports, blood, negative and discouraging information, etc.

Anyway. I’m looking forward to reading all those papers, and have a hope that these young reporters will learn how to report trauma delicately and thoroughly, and not how to “nightmare people”…