By Charles Nwabardi
The International Press Center(IPC), Lagos, is hosting a two-day webinar on Journalism Education and Trauma, on behalf of Journalism Education and Research Group (JETREG), sub saharan Africa in collaboration with School of English and Journalism, University of Lincoln, UK and Journalism Subject group at the Media, Arts and Communications Department, Sheffield Hallam University, UK.
According to the Coordinators of JETREG sub saharan Africa, Associate Professor Dele Odunlami of the Olabisi Onabanjo University and Dr Qasim Akinreti, Deputy Director Digital Media, Voice of Nigeria(VON), the two-day virtual event slated for Thursday 18th and Friday 19th November, 2021, will be addressed by the Representatives of UNESCO; The Dart Centre Europe; Trauma Reporting Ltd; Journalists from all world regions represented in JETREG’s regional research hubs.
Senior Nigerian Journalists and academics including Mr. Lanre Arogundade of IPC, Dr Qasim Akinreti, Mrs Adenike Adegoke, Professor Dele Odunlami and Dr Jide Johnson will discuss Journalism and Trauma Literacy, through focus discussion groups. Over 60 members of JETREG in Nigeria will also participate online.
Trauma literacy is an unmet objective in the UNESCO’s Safety of Journalists’ policy agenda. Since 2007, the Safety of Journalists’ agenda covers a range of issues from violence, conflict, physical and online abuse, harassment and impunity but overlooks journalists’ emotional and psychological responses to exposure to traumatic events.
This is a pertinent research enquiry because scholarly studies consistently conclude that journalists who regularly cover accidents, natural disasters, crime, cases of rape and child abuse are susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and persistent fear. It is noted that reporters are often ill-prepared to cope with the consequences of covering these assignments and there is still some stigma attached to the conversations about mental health in journalism and high burnout rates among media workers.
JETREG aims to bridge gaps in research by working towards the development of a professional development course (PDC) to enhance journalism educators’ expertise and confidence to teach trauma; a trauma informed literacy module for journalism students; and by conducting further research to enhance our understanding of work-related trauma and coping strategies in journalism practice.
The Safe Space event is organised by JETREG and its growing international network, brings together journalists and journalism educators to develop a common understanding of trauma informed literacy and how it can be embedded in teaching and professional practice.
Moreover, the Safe Space event aims to engage with other stakeholders in the debate such as UNESCO, global media organisations, international NGOs and how to overcome the stigma around the topic.