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What Reporters Need to Know About Interviewing Trauma Survivors

Many veteran clients served by NVLSP have experienced trauma on the battlefield in service to the United States while on a tour of duty.

Reporting on the pain and suffering of others, is never easy. But is also not “business as usual.” Many of our clients have endured, and may continue to endure, significant pain, nightmares, and anxiety because of their exposure to traumatic events. We welcome the opportunity to share their stories, but they should not be exploited or further traumatized by media exposure.

We recommend that reporters talking with clients who have combat experience or been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, review the guidelines issued by the Dart Center for  Journalism and Trauma. These guidelines offer pointers for journalists on covering war and interview tips to help journalists conduct interviews that are empathetic and get to the story without traumatizing our clients.

Additional Resources

Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma
Self-study training course, advice on self-care for journalists exposed to violence, interview tips on talking with trauma survivors and children exposed to violence.

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
A professional organization with resources for the public, journalists, clinicians and others on traumatic stress and its effects.

News University Online Training Course: Journalism & Trauma
Online training course on interviewing trauma survivors from the Poynter Institute

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