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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The relational world of journalists who report on traumatic events Stevens, Alison Mary


A growing body of research explores the impact of reporting on traumatic events for journalists. Current research has not focused on early attachment histories or included the relational worlds of journalists in regard to the trauma they witness. The purpose of this study is to provide a detailed portrayal of how journalists who report on trauma understand their relational world both in how earlier relationships contribute to who they are now and what happens in relationships when they are exposed to traumatic events. In this study using a narrative approach and the Life Story interview method the stories of nine journalists who have had experience reporting on traumatic events were told. From their narratives, the methods for thematic analysis of Atkinson, 1998; Lieblich, Tuval-Mashiach, & Zilber, 1998; and Riessman, 1993, 2008 were used to identify relational patterns. Six themes emerged including close family relationships in early life, family relationships being central to well being in adult life, juggling three relational spheres (private life, professional life, relationships with people they report about), finding support for managing trauma, making a difference in human lives through reporting on trauma, and the impact of reporting on traumatic events on relationships. Based on the results of this study recommendations are made for journalists who report on traumatic events at an individual and organizational level. Implications for practice and for further research are also discussed.

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