Following the arrest and death of Freddie Gray in April of 2015, numerous journalists were victims of mob violence while covering the ensuring riots in Baltimore, Maryland. On August 26, television news reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward were shot and killed by a former coworker during a live on-air segment in Roanoke, Virginia. On December 2, news outlets covered the second deadliest mass shooting in the state of California as two extremists killed and injured nearly 40 people in San Bernardino. Throughout 2015, audiences watched over and over again as traumatic incidents of mass violence saturated television, radio, print and online media. Yet, what is the impact on those who report on such incidents?

Journalists and media professionals are culturally viewed as invincible to the horrors on which they report, but repetitive exposure to others’ trauma ultimately takes a lasting toll. It is not just large-scale acts of violence, either; small, intimate incidents of local violence and tragedy can affect media professionals profoundly. Professional reportage requires a closeness with the subject that the general populace is safeguarded against via computer screens and newsprint. Objectivity is the media professional’s standard, but objectivity can take only so much abuse before it begins to crumble under the
weight of human pain and suffering. It is critical that employers in the field take necessary steps to maintain the well-being and resilience of their workforce.

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