Journalists have been at the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic to receive first-hand information for the consumption of the general public as they have done throughout the course of their work. However, the psychological impact of this on journalists has remained largely unreported.
Journalists are often victims of trauma, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and a host of other psychological problems as a result of their work. Journalists who cover conflict are exposed to a host of stress disorders that can exert a damaging effect on their emotional well-being. Intimidation, assault, mock execution and witnessing death and suffering are just some of the occupational hazards that come with the job. These hazards explain why the lifetime prevalence rate for posttraumatic stress disorder in journalists who have worked for over a decade in zones of the conflict approaches the levels seen in combat veterans and exceeds the rates in the general population.
The Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism started a campaign in 2018 to help journalists focus on and cater to their psychological well being. This is especially important in an environment like Nigeria where mental health issues are still largely taboo.
While journalists have an ethical responsibility to cover all issues extensively and bring objective verified information to their audiences, including particularly difficult ones like wars, conflicts, humanitarian crises and, more recently, pandemics, it is important that journalists and media workers pay due attention to their physical and mental health, both to prevent against physical harm such as possible infection and also psychological harm such as depression, mental trauma, etc.
The Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism in collaboration with The Olive Prime Psychological Services is hosting a webinar that will focus on the psychological effect of reporting in difficult times, examining the dangers that this exposure poses for the mental and physical well being of journalists, mitigating these dangers and discussing easily accessible tools and services for such mitigation. Panellists are drawn from journalists on the frontline and clinical psychologists and psychotherapists who will have an open and honest conversation on the peculiar exposures of journalists and what they can do about it.
Details of the webinar are below:
Topic – Psychological Effects of Reporting in Difficult Times
Date – Tuesday 16th June 2020
Time – 3- 4:30pm WAT
Journalists, media owners and media stakeholders are encouraged to register here to attend.