What is Trauma Journalism?

Trauma Journalism defines the professional work of journalists who cover combat, crime and catastrophe. 

On August 14, 2013 Italian photojournalist Teo Butturini was wounded in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square while covering protests in Egypt. This is his camera, notebook, and the shirt he was wearing on that day. (Photo: Teo Butturni)

On August 14, 2013 Italian photojournalist Teo Butturini was wounded in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square while covering protests in Egypt. This is his camera, notebook, and the shirt he was wearing on that day. (Photo: Teo Butturni)

Who Are Trauma Journalists?

  • The local television reporter at a murder scene
  • The senior foreign correspondent broadcasting from a war zone
  • The freelancer covering a natural disaster
  • The feature writer distilling the experiences of childhood abuse survivors
  • The beat reporter repeatedly exposed to one type of trauma on a continual basis
  • The photo editor selecting from raw, graphic photos of a multi-car accident or natural disaster 

Each risks physical and emotional injury from the violence, conflict and tragedy they report and photograph. 

Why Does Trauma Journalism Matter?

Just as other first responders face dangerous and demanding encounters, trauma journalists must also perform professional duties under stress and maintain physical and emotional health.

Their profession needs resources to address the challenges facing journalists who go into harm's way as our eyes and ears. They provide accurate information, gathered from the world’s broken places, that people and governments require for effective decisions. And they give voice to stories that would most likely go unheard.

The Numbers

73 journalists have been killed or murdered in 2015. Almost 200 were imprisoned. And many faced devastating trauma from the loss of friends and colleagues.

A York city firefighter drags his hose to get a different angle on fighting the two level garage fire in York city on Friday, March 12, 2004. (Photo: Jason Plotkin/York (Pa.) Daily Record/Sunday News)

A York city firefighter drags his hose to get a different angle on fighting the two level garage fire in York city on Friday, March 12, 2004. (Photo: Jason Plotkin/York (Pa.) Daily Record/Sunday News)

What We Do

The Trust for Trauma Journalism provides a new tool and a trusted resource to cooperate with and fund existing and developing organizations working in the trauma journalism area.

It funds programs that:

  • Serve trauma journalists before, during, and after they go into harm's way
  • Advance the craft of trauma journalism by deepening journalists' knowledge and strengthening their ability to tell true stories of survivors
  • Link clinicians and journalists in an effort to understand how a survivor's media experience can be part of healing

The Trust is a project of the Cornerstone Foundation, a tax-exempt public foundation established in 1967. Since its establishment, Cornerstone has maintained its mission to support a wide range of public policy studies, educational programs, and organizations committed to understanding and improving the institutions of government.