Experts worry about journalists’ exposure to trauma

Media experts have expressed concern over trauma risks that journalists in Nigeria face.

The experts comprising both print and electronic journalists demanded trauma literacy in journalism curricula to make them informed, responsive and sensitive.

The media experts spoke at a roundtable on ‘Embedding Trauma Literacy in Journalism Training in African: The Road Map’ held at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Ogba, on Thursday in Lagos.

The event was organised by the Journalism Education and Trauma Research Group (JETREG), Sub-Saharan Africa Research Hub.

The roundtable was anchored by Dele Odunlami, an associate professor and Qasim Akinreti, a former chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos.

The keynote speaker, Ola Ogunyemi of Lincoln University, UK, said journalists were daily exposed to traumatising events that could harm their mental health, hence the need to address the trauma risks.

Mr Ogunyemi also explained that only resilient journalists could cope with the occupational stress and trauma of the modern time.

According to him, JETREG, with over 250 members, is concerned about the safety of journalists, calling for an embedded trauma literacy in the journalism curriculum.

Mr Ogunyemi said journalists must be equipped to learn how to deal with work stress, depression and fear.

In his remarks, Yemisi Bamgbose, Executive Secretary, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, said there was the need to develop a curriculum on the burnout and trauma of journalists.

“Journalism/media work is categorised as a high strain job,” Mr Bamgbose, a veteran broadcaster, said.

He listed sources of burnout among journalists to include toxic environment comprising poor salary, non-payment of salary, work overload, ownership interference and discrimination, daily commuting on bad roads, insecurity, deadline, lack of motivation and poor employer-employee relationships.

Bamgbose added that what journalists see in the line of duty, including building and road crashes, rituals, could traumatise them.

(NAN)

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